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Focus Québec — Nouveaux satellites

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

Ce Feu aimant est le premier opus d’une jeune formation, un quatuor au sein duquel émarge le claviériste Maxime Corbeil-Perron, l’un des initiateurs du label numérique Kohlenstoff, mais aussi auteur d’un enregistrement sur Mikroclimat il y a trois ans, Polychrome. À ses côtés officient Sylvain Gagné (bassiste et auteur en 2017, sous le nom de De Grèle, d’un enregistrement lui aussi sur Mikroclimat), Simon Trottier (guitariste) et Maya Kuroki à la voix (elle aussi a un enregistrement à son actif sur Mikroclimat, Chromalespsie, réalisé par son duo avec Rainer Wiens, Rippleganger). Se partageant entre trois longs morceaux de plus ou moins dix minutes et quatre titres de deux/trois minutes, ce Feu aimant est pour le moins attirant, surtout lorsque l’auditeur a été nourri au biberon dudit krautrock, auquel une large part de l’esthétique de la synthèse siamoise renvoie: aspects de certaines sessions improvisées à la Cosmic Jokers croisés à Xhol, effets de claviers évanescents, avec un apport plus net d’une pulsion groovy, nourrie par quelques échantillonnages… et de délicates dentelles guitaristiques.

Focus Québec — Planètes connues

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

Deux ensembles, dont le nombre de participants peut varier, et dont certains gravitent dans les deux! Créé à la veille du présent millénaire, l’Ensemble SuperMusique rassemble une vingtaine de musiciens, compositeurs, interprètes de la scène de Montréal. Si l’ossature est formée essentiellement des musiciens du collectif D.A.M.E., il en agrège d’autres encore selon les projets, avec à la clef un album tous les quatre ans (l’année 2016 connut toute foi deux productions, Jeux de Pistes et Les Accords intuitifs). Si les compositions des premières productions émanaient surtout des membres fondateurs (Derome, Tétreault, Roger, St-Onge, Hétu), l’ensemble s’évertue aussi à interpréter des compositions issues de la musique contemporaine établie (Tempest de John Rea, par exemple). Avec Voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire, et rire, l’ensemble s’attache à une seule œuvre et à un seul compositeur, et pas n’importe lequel Symon Henry est en effet un personnage assez singulier, qui dans ses compositions use des arts visuels en proposant des partitions faites de dessins (168 pages en ce qui concerne cette œuvre), en s’inspirant de Cornelius Cardew et de quelques pratiques plus actuelles comme celle de Jennifer Walshe, et en laissant aux interprètes le choix d’user de techniques non conventionnelles dans leur jeu instrumental. Si la pièce avait été préalablement interprétée (en 2016) par l’Orchestre symphonique du Québec, elle trouve sa véritable dimension avec cette version proposée par l’Ensemble SuperMusique, sous la direction de Danielle Palardy Roger, lors de l’exposition de l’œuvre graphique, un écran projetant celle-ci pour permettre au public de la suivre… Le Ratchet Orchestra, plus vieux que l’Ensemble SuperMusique de presque une décennie, rassemble aussi compositeurs, interprètes et improvisateurs de la scène montréalaise (quoiqu’accueillant aussi un musicien originaire de l’Ouest canadien, Josuah Zubot). Il est dirigé par Nicolas Caloia, par ailleurs contrebassiste et principal compositeur de l’orchestre (comme dans ce Coco Swirl), même si à l’occasion il peut se mettre au service d’un autre compositeur (Malcolm Goldstein, in Soweto Stomp, cf. R&C No. 109). Une dizaine de titres, dont une suite en six parties [«Before Is After»] concluant l’enregistrement, offre à certains instrumentistes l’occasion d’œuvrer en petites formations (notamment dans les deux premiers titres), mais ces interventions sont ponctuées voire dramatisées par l’ensemble avec des stridences et certains effets bruitistes faisant naviguer l’auditeur entre différents climats, parfois presque contemplatifs, avant de s’aventurer vers des terrains plus angoissants. L’orchestre emprunte les chemins d’un jazz improvisé expérimental, souvent proche de l’écriture contemporaine, dans une approche toutefois un peu plus aisée que celle de Symon Henry.

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

Normand Babin, Néomémoire, June 16, 2020
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Press

If one would translate the title of this album, Feu aimant, this would probably give something as ‘magnetic fire’. Indeed, as a fire, this album acts as a magnet for the ears and the eyes. Siamois Synthesis, the name of the new band, also unveils the content of the album: a synthesis of different musical influences such as experimental, rock, techno, folk, ambiant and more, where tracks alternate between a more energetic music and a more floating and meditative one. If its references are quite eclectic, the album is very coherent though, tracks flow naturally one from the other. We could evoke some Cibo Matto from the first years in a less sweetened version mostly because of the voice of Maya Kuroki, or we could also recall of a less dark Arca mostly because of the sometimes very dirty electric guitar of Simon Trottier and of the bass of Sylvain Gagné. The music is very cinematographic, we dream of a show with video, an art where Maxime Perron-Corbeil is excellent, for now you find him at the keyboards and the computer. Perron-Corbeil is a few steps ahead when talking about fire. Seen last year in Toronto, a musical video, Displacement, offered a bonfire, a mesmerizing image that still is glued to my retina since.

The fifth and sixth tracks, TriggerWarning_drumsdrumsdrums and Urizen, follow each other with no stop and are the chore of this recording: a slow but relentless crescendo in a dramatic intensity. Urizen is a mythological character from the literary universe of William Blake, an embodiment of conventional reason and law. A frightening character that Siamois Synthesis renders with a strong realism.

Available in downloadable format or in vinyl LP, Feu aimant deserves many listenings. An album with a good concept, a band of four equally talented musicians who obviously enjoy playing together, a music at the thin edge between experimental and pop which make us believe in a colorful and diverse future for music. Hybrid concepts are good change agents, catalysts for new movements, Siamois Synthesis has everything to get international recognition and we can’t wait for a second album and are impatient to see them on stage.

… a music at the thin edge between experimental and pop which make us believe in a colorful and diverse future for music. Hybrid concepts are good change agents, catalysts for new movements, Siamois Synthesis has everything to get international recognition…

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.

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.

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