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Focus Québec — Nouveaux satellites

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 124, June 1, 2020
Monday, July 6, 2020 Press

Flûtiste dans l’Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Marie-Hélène Breault s’est associée à la pianiste Pamela Reimer (elle aussi membre du même ensemble, tout en collaborant aussi au Bradyworks, créé par le compositeur/guitariste Tim Brady) pour enregistrer, pour le compte de la Collection QB, une série d’œuvres de compositrices et compositeurs canadien.ne.s. Au menu: John Rea, Gilles Tremblay, Denis Gougeon, Claude Vivier et Ana Sokolović (originaire de Serbie, elle est devenue résidente canadienne en 1992), auxquels les deux musiciennes rendent hommage à travers deux œuvres pour chacun et chacune. Parfois pour un seul instrument, la flûte (Les Vêpres de la Vierge: Envol de Tremblay, L’Oiseau blessé de Gougeon), ou le piano (Trois Études de Sokolovic, Musiques de l’eau de Tremblay et Shiraz de Vivier}… Ce parcours en dix étapes révèle des pièces assez variées, parfois de facture relativement classique [Sonatina de John Rea ou Pièce pour flûte et piano de Claude Vivier], en introduisant des climats variés un peu mystérieux [les Trois Études], troubles [Un Bouquet de brume d’Ana Sokolović], mais aussi parfois primesautiers [Canto del piccolo de Gougeon], voire ludiques [Las Meninas de John Rea, faite de cinq tableaux, dédiés chacun à un compositeur: Chopin, Evangelista, Koprowski, Stravinski, Glass]…

Focus Québec — Planètes connues

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 124, June 1, 2020
Monday, July 6, 2020 Press

L’auditeur peut se plonger ici dans un environnement sonore étonnant. Il s’agit certes de piano (parfois à quatre mains, son créateur, Philippe Lauzier y étant secondé par Belinda Campbell), mais surtout d’un croisement avec des fils suspendus, inspiré du métier à tisser: non pas un piano «inside», mais un piano «outside». En somme, cette installation sonore offre une sorte de condensé entre le piano préparé et les longs strings, instruments chers à Paul Panhuysen ou Ellen Fullman. Sans doute aussi intéressant du point de vue visuel, qu’on peut apprécier ici: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0NkZHH8hJQ

Focus Québec — Nouveaux satellites

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 124, June 1, 2020
Monday, July 6, 2020 Press

Parmi les dernières réalisations du label Mikroclimat, celles de Léa Boudreau et du duo Sarah Albu / Vergil Sharkya’ présente quelques similitudes: une sorte de zapping, de pot-pourri de sons divers qui se télescopent, parfois de manière fugace. Un bric-à-brac sonore souvent joyeux (même lorsque les sons pourraient être anxiogènes par leur nature), rehaussé dans le second cas par la voix de Sarah Albu. Un travail étonnant de Léa Boudreau, qui jusqu’à maintenant a plutôt œuvré dans la chanson rock au sein d’une formation, The Bright Road (cf. l’album Océan). Sarah Albu, elle, est vocaliste et voyage entre les polyphonies des XVe et XXe siècles (Stimmung de Stockhausen) et l’approche expérimentale et bruitiste: on note un travail avec Architek Percussion (cf R&C No. 112) et le compositeur acousmatique James O’Callaghan. Son partenaire Vergil Sharkya’, originaire d’Autriche, a travaillé avec Philip Jeck et explore plus particulièrement synthétiseurs, logiciels, effets électroniques et analogiques; on a pu le croiser au sein de l’Ensemble SuperMusique.

Review

Normand Babin, Néomémoire, June 25, 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020 Press

What is retro futurism if not a way of seing the future holding on what comes from the past? In Intoxidation, first shared composition between composer Vergil Sharkya’ and the experimental vocalist Sarah Albu, there is a large number of datas that were entered and reprogramed. We can feel here influences from concrete musique and electronic music from its beginning around the 60s. But we can also hear some almost classical vocal lines, as in Mâchoire de sirène for example. A ‘déjà vu’ impression which bring us back when future was bright and clean. But as we dig in the listening, we understand the two artists want to bring us much further. We understand we are facing here a reinterpretation of the classics and a collage, as in visual arts, of diverse sound schemes. Superposed in many layers, this is a very rich sound palette. The collage reminds us of the surrealism era and, in fact, there is some surrealism in the music and the titles of the pieces. Is this retro futurist surrealism? Of course.

In tracks number 4 and 5: coquillage radio vs. ancient sea receiver and récepteur de la mer antique vs. radioshell the artists play with our ears. Hard to say if this is the same tracks played differently, simply switching from one ear to the other, giving more volume to one track then to the other, but this little virtuosity trick makes you smile and makes you feel, true or not, you suddenly understand what is happening.

… merely a vehicle for the sauce is the most ambitious piece of the album. In this song, Sarah Albu uses the entire spectrum of sound a human can possibly produce with the voice. Sarah Albu’s voice is remarkably pure, she uses very little vibrato, a white voice that suddenly cracks or seem to diffract. From pure arpeggios to meows, vibration noises made with the lips to throat singing, etc. The electronic are there to accompany and amplifie. Here is what can be consider an aria from the 21st Century. This is a virtuoso music, there is a mini-drama, a story, so the technical and sensitive aptitudes of the singer are fully implied. Both the performance and the composition make this a very successful piece.

This album has a program, a beginning, an end, some vast and great moments, some funny moments, this album reflects the perfect harmony between the two artists and this harmony transcends through magnificent songs.

This album has a program, a beginning, an end, some vast and great moments, some funny moments, this album reflects the perfect harmony between the two artists and this harmony transcends through magnificent songs.

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.