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Review

Yoshi Maclear Wall, The WholeNote, no. 27:6, April 20, 2022
Friday, April 22, 2022 Press

Sometimes, the smallest tidbit of context can make a world of difference when it comes to interpreting art. One illustrative example that comes to mind is the powerful 1997 Derek Bailey and Min Tanaka Music and Dance album, where the listener is primarily attuned to Bailey’s guitar playing but even just a working knowledge of Tanaka’s presence helps establish a real-world setting in the mind of the listener.

Similarly, Ensemble SuperMusique’s 2019 Montréal Sonne l’image performance is also one of a multidisciplinary nature, and there is something about that framing that feels critical. Even if one doesn’t get their hands on a CD where the visual scores themselves are provided, the music takes on a new shape when the imagination can vaguely infer the imagery that is being responded to. This phenomenon speaks to a desire the spectator has to feel connected to the process itself, where the stage almost seems to disappear and the hierarchy of a concert hall vanishes. But what happens when one chooses to listen ignorantly, fixating on what we’ve been given rather than extrapolating?

The music itself has a definite determinate sway to it in terms of duration and select composed passages, but this is an inspiring display of collective improvisation. Throughout three movements, all individual elements are interwoven but there is never overt disruption. Everyone breathes together, and nobody takes a solo. Communal contributions take precedence over individual objectives. Patience and timing ensures fluidity.

… this is an inspiring display of collective improvisation.

Review

Andrew Timar, The WholeNote, no. 27:6, April 21, 2022
Friday, April 22, 2022 Press

In the last years of his prolific creative life, iconic experimental composer John Cage (1912-1992) composed some 40 number pieces. For titles, he coined a unique system in which numbers indicate the number of performers or the number of instrumental parts in each work. Superscripts were added when compositions shared the same number of performers.

Cage’s notation of these pieces features two time-based categories: fixed and flexible “time brackets.” Fixed-time brackets indicate when the musician/s should precisely begin and end a tonal event. Flexible-time brackets however, allow musicians choice in the matter, admitting into the performance, a) chance and b) the anarchic harmony of sounds and silences simply co-existing, two key Cagean notions.

Both works on this album belong to that corpus. One7, “For any pitched instrument able to play sustained notes,” is the seventh piece in a series of compositions for one musician. Except, in this performance the polished Montréal group Quartetski have decided to interpret the open score with all four member musicians: Isaiah Ceccarelli (percussion, synthesizer), Bernard Falaise (electric guitar), Philippe Lauzier (bass clarinet, synthesizer) and Pierre-Yves Martel (electric bass, sine waves).

Four6, also for unspecified forces, also lasts a leisurely half hour. The four musicians are asked to “Choose 12 different sounds with fixed characteristics (amplitude, overtone structure, etc.) ” producing a mellower soundscape than the dramatic musical moments generated in One7.

Quartetski’s nuanced realization of these two autumnal Cage works admirably animates the scores, imbuing individual character which belies their apparent abstract appearance. Marked by attention to timbral richness well-represented by this refined recording, the quartet displays a spirit of sonic discovery that’s aurally refreshing while respecting the composer’s musical aesthetics.

… the quartet displays a spirit of sonic discovery that’s aurally refreshing while respecting the composer’s musical aesthetics.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1331, April 11, 2022
Thursday, April 14, 2022 Press

Discovering the work of Fred Frith and René Lussier, Falaise chose a similar direction in developing his own voice as a guitarist. From early on, he was interested in extending the possibilities and sounds of the electric guitar. For more than 25 years, he has been a prominent force in the scene of Québec and played with groups like Papa Boa, Klaxon Gueule, Subtle Lip and many other projects and played with many other musicians from Québec. One finds his name on dozens of albums recorded in the last twenty years, from pop and Avant rock to improvised and modern composed music. He records a solo effort now and then, and G(o) sol(o) is the fifth one in this series. In his earlier solo statements overdubbing, editing, and other post-production procedures were essential constitutive elements. Not for his new recording, where Falaise kept these at a minimum to create music played as it is heard. It is hard to believe that sometimes all is played by Falaise simultaneously, but looping and other devices easily create this impression. His experimental and exploring music is beyond recognizable styles and idioms. It is a very original, rich musical world on its own. The opening track Slogan starts with rock-based sensibilities. It is the first of two lengthy improvisations (12 minutes), whereas the other pieces stay 4-5 minutes. The work goes through different stages and feels like a journey, encountering many different textures and patterns. Olga en gondole has a laid back and open atmosphere. On the contrary, Gogol à vélo is a freaky and experimental improvisation built from short movements and interruptions. Galop starts from percussive-like sequences. The sounds change in intensity and colour. Closing track L’ocelot d’Oslo is created from looped sounds of an ambient and keyboard-like nature, with nervous high-pitched sketchy interruptions moving towards a culminating point. His abstract sonic adventures for prepared guitar are varied and intense. Lively and far from academic.

His abstract sonic adventures for prepared guitar are varied and intense. Lively and far from academic.

Review

Brad Rose, Foxy Digitalis, February 11, 2022
Monday, April 11, 2022 Press

What a magnificent album from a label (Ambiances Magnétiques) that very much has my attention. Joane Hétu is a composer, saxophonist, and vocalist and her work is always inventive and sonically captivating. Tags collects four ‘orphans’ — pieces that didn’t have a home elsewhere — and shows everything that makes Hétu great. Lithe woodwinds dance across simmering floors while voices shoot upward like ancient machines hidden underground come to life. Beautiful guitar tones gloss through blank corridors, flitting between resonant drones and rippling splurges, interconnected with an underlying sigh of relief. It’s amazing that these four pieces weren’t written with each other in mind because Tags works as a wonderfully cohesive album. Recommended.

What a magnificent album from a label that very much has my attention.

Kritik

Frank P Eckert, Groove, March 16, 2022
Monday, April 11, 2022 Press

Das von Joane Hétu kuratierte Montréaler Label Mikroclimat beschränkt sich ebenfalls nicht auf Jazz, nicht mal im weitesten Sinne. Das langformatige Motile cilia (Mikroclimat) des Duos Ora aus Label Co-Betreiber Maxime Corbeil-Perron und Stéphanie Castonguay spielt zum Beispiel im von Industrial und Noise her denkenden Dark Ambient mit Überschneidungen zu modernen Post-Club-Experimenten. Aber eben mit den Werkzeugen der freien Improvisation und der elektroakustischen Komposition, semi-akustisch assembliert.

… plays in dark ambient thinking from industrial and noise with overlaps to modern post-club experiments.