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Squidco Pick

Phil Zampino, The Squid’s Ear, March 12, 2021
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Press

The first listed below is from one of the label founders, flutist and saxophonist Jean Derome. I first came to his work long before Squidco started, fascinated by his duo records with guitarist René Lussier, which pairing was eventually defined as Les Granules. On the first of their albums that I bought was the 1986 LP Soyez vigilants, restez vivants… Volume 1 (AM 005), where Derome is credited with flutes, saxophones, claviers, percussions, voice and invented instruments. It was the inventiveness with which both played that appealed to me, as unusual elements found their way into their improvisations. Now, 45 years later, Derome focuses exclusively on his percussions, voice and invented instruments in a solo Souffles album that showcases his vast collection of instruments, big and small. A photo in the CD edition shows Derome sitting in front of a table with an arsenal of curious devices, four microphones at the ready, and his flute and sax at his side. For me, this is the essence of the man’s work and his insatiable and mischievous nature.

The remarkably creative flutist & saxophonist Jean Derome often incorporates unusual instruments into his improvisations and compositions, including bird calls, harps, kalimbas, sirens, flower plastic wrappings, bells, … on this album Derome focuses on those unique instruments and noise makers through 23 surprising pieces illustrating his incredible collection.

For me, this is the essence of the man’s work and his insatiable and mischievous nature.

Review

Peter Margasak, The Wire, no. 446, April 1, 2021
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 Press

Few top tier string quartets have been as devoted to experimental music as the Montréal ensemble Quatuor Bozzini, who routinely bring a stunning rigour to everything they play, whether the radical work of Swiss composer Jürg Frey or key Canadian figures such as Linda Catlin Smith, Cassandra Miller and Martin Arnold. This new album focuses on the music of Alvin Lucier, one of the most enduring and consequential sonic explorers of the last half-century, and the group’s razor-sharp precision and empathy helps bring the gripping psychoacoustics of his research into dynamic relief.

The album is bookended by two conventional yet open-ended string quartets, starting with the 1994 composition Disappearances originally written for Lucier’s students at Wesleyan University, and closing with the 1991 piece Navigations for Strings, previously recorded by Arditti. They feel like companion pieces. The first is built from harmonically rich, unison long tones that seem to float towards eternity, but eventually one musician slowly, almost imperceptibly, raises or lowers their individual pitch, incrementally followed by the others to produce acoustic beating with ever-changing rhythmic patterns, all contained within an immersive sustain. It’s the kind of work that could go on for hours, but this version clocks in at nearly 17 minutes, generating an immersive sonic experience at the heart of Lucier’s ongoing fascination with the science of sound.

In between the group perform two iterations of the 2004 piece Group Tapper, an adaptation of a piece written for violinist Conrad Harris — and recently featured in an hour long workout by his String Noise duo on a Black Truffle album — in which the musicians thwack at the bodies of their instruments with the butt end of a bow. Each one taps out different rhythms, but the real pleasure is observing how the percussive sounds fill the space they’re played in, as the musicians slowly move in the room, perpetually altering the sonic profile. Unamuno was written as a vocal piece, with each singer intoning a single pitch in a four-tone cluster, but the Bozzini’s complement the voice with strings. Lucier is brilliant, but his music always works best when performed by the truly dedicated.

… the group’s razor-sharp precision and empathy helps bring the gripping psychoacoustics of his research into dynamic relief.

Critique

Sophie Chartier, Le Devoir, February 19, 2021
Sunday, February 21, 2021 Press

Le surréalisme, parlons-en. Êtes-vous plus du type Lynch ou Jodorowsky? Des générations entières n’ont-elles pas été partiellement traumatisées par la grosse chenille fumeuse d’opium dans le dessin animé d’Alice au pays des merveilles? Parlant de ce film, ce sont les paroles du bariolé chat du Cheshire (au fait, qu’est-ce que des «momerate»?) qui ouvrent la nouvelle collaboration de collages sonores et d’effets de pédales entre les artistes expérimentaux N Nao et Joni Void. D’accord, le ton est donné. Alice nous guidera à travers des trappes, des détours, des incantations, des atmosphères entre glauque et ivresse. Les univers de ces deux explorateurs de l’inconscient s’arriment si bien l’un à l’autre que l’on croirait entendre un groupe formé depuis longtemps. Leur collaboration ne remonte qu’à 2019 toutefois. L’oiseau chante avec ses doigts est le premier d’une série d’albums bricolés avec du matériel grappillé depuis leurs débuts ensemble. ★★★ 1/2

… ces deux explorateurs de l’inconscient s’arriment si bien l’un à l’autre que l’on croirait entendre un groupe formé depuis longtemps.