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Review

Richard Moule, Exclaim!, May 1, 1999

Another set of dispatches from this Montréal collective of musique actuel-ites who continue to dazzle with their transgressive music. It is music that balances improvisation and composition in a singular fusion of jazz, rock, modern classical, musique concrète and turntablism. Callas: La diva et le vinyle is part musical and phonographic history lesson and part plunderphonics. 1997 was the 20th anniversary of opera diva Maria Callas’s death, and the 100th anniversary of Emil Berliner, who started EMI Records in Montréal. On Callas: La diva et le vinyle, clarinettist Lepage and DJ turntablist assassin, Tétreault have created a hilarious, irreverent playful tribute to these historical recorded events. Taking old recordings of Callas, Tétreault scratches, cuts and pitch shifts fragments of her voice, at one point making it sound like a fire alarm, while Lepage compliments Callas’s voice with alternating lyrically melancholic and joyous improvised phrasings. Callas: La diva et le vinyle is an exciting meeting of multiple juxtapositions: between old and new voices, between the stylised rituals of opera and the freedom of contemporary sound art and between live and recorded music.

… a hilarious, irreverent playful tribute…

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