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Review

Mike Borella, Avant Music News, June 17, 2020
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Press

Joel Lavoie is a Montréal-based sound artist who’s output on Souvenir encompasses a mix of ambient, acousmatic, synth (Buchla 200), and minimalist influences. While these styles have been combined in various ways previously, Lavoie’s approach has a unique feel, making Souvenir a compelling and understated release.

Across three long tracks, Lavoie layers oscillations, gentle walls, pulses, and environmental sounds. On Souvenirs intermittents, these evolve and grow in intensity, adding cosmic synth lines. Addendum begins with a mid-range drone before moving into a theme reminiscent of Steve Roach or the Berlin School. Marche irréfléchie is a 25-minute coda that adds a double bass player as well as some light discordance. Melodies drift across deep soundscapes with distant crashing, voices, and other effects.

Despite their unconventional sources, there is a certain warmth and spaciousness to Lavoie’s compositions that give them a cinematic texture. With no shortage of ambient music readily available, it takes a strong release to turn heads these days. Souvenir fits the bill.

Lavoie’s approach has a unique feel, making Souvenir a compelling and understated release.

Critique

Philippe Renaud, Le Devoir, June 12, 2020
Monday, June 15, 2020 Press

Les compositrices et artistes multidisciplinaires Émilie Payeur, Charlotte Clermont et Gabrielle Godbout forment ce qu’il convient d’appeler un «super-groupe» de musique expérimentale dont le nom, Moshi Moshi, évoque l’inspiration de la culture pop japonaise (kawaii) intrinsèque au projet. Leur expérimentation brute et ludique s’érige avec un mélange d’instruments électroniques et électriques, mais c’est surtout la présence de la voix humaine qui nous guide sur l’album, voix chantée comme sur les pétillantes et délicates Chill Golden Lover et TTYS au cœur de l’album, voix échantillonnées et trafiquées un peu partout ailleurs, autant de matériaux qui donnent des contours à l’imaginaire des musiciennes. Même dans les passages les plus bruyants (souvent les plus fascinants, comme We, Dark Party et We Bloom We Shine en conclusion), Moshi Moshi incorpore quelques motifs rythmiques linéaires et quelques fragments mélodiques qui font de Firmament un album qui s’apprivoise sans mal.

★★★ 1/2

… un «super-groupe» de musique expérimentale…

Review

Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, June 6, 2020
Monday, June 15, 2020 Press

Means to personify some of the archetypal Commedia dell’arte characters, QB’s interpretation of the suite ranges from the full-fledged corybantic string rubbing on Capitano, the first “story”, to the harmonized and lyrical outpouring which defines Colombina, the subsequent track. From that point on every variety of conventional and extended technique is put to exceptional use. High-pitched jitters squeeze out skittish variations at points, while compelling surges from the lower-pitched strings sometimes reference a sense of high-powered modern swing. Through QB members perform the equivalent of tightrope walking, swaying and stretching timbres, but with enough safety net-like fusion so that there’s no chance of them failing. When personifying Isabella for instance, sawing reflections of one low tone face a pointed counter melody that eventually combines to express multiple tinctures on the color scale. Meantime the lively Zanni is probably the most Balkan of the tracks with its reed-like suggestions. The piece combines rhythmic cello plucks and dynamic violin squeaks to create a slipping and sliding terpsichorean feel. Overall, while cellist Bozzini sometimes fulfills the double bass function with string slaps, angled off-centre and off-key variables from all QB members mean that bouncing col legno emphasis frequently cements the performances. While spiccato string acceleration may dominate the final Ruzzante the dissonant pitches fade into tremolo overlapping signaling the end of the piece and the suite finale. Bagatelles which depend mostly on speed and col legno thumps, only an earlier composition, the multi-part Blanc dominant seems sufficiently fleshed out. Expressive with thinner squeals, the chamber music continuum is challenged throughout with a sneaky sectional counter motif.

… every variety of conventional and extended technique is put to exceptional use.

Critique

William Paulhus, Mes enceintes font défaut, June 7, 2020
Thursday, June 11, 2020 Press

Pour faire suite à son excellent album Cabines paru il y a près de deux ans sur Jeunesse Cosmique, Joel Lavoie est de retour avec un incroyable nouveau disque. Toujours plus dense et émouvante, la musique du Montréalais nous chavire encore une fois par sa grande pureté. C’est l’un des plus beaux voyages ambient de 2020.

C’est l’un des plus beaux voyages ambient de 2020.

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