The production of the Montréal record label Ambiances Magnétiques always oscillated between avant-garde song writing and free improvisation. The former was very important in the early days (1985-1990), later left aside (during the mid-1990s) and finally regained interest at the turn of the century. Ambiances Magnétiques, Vol. 5: Chante! 1985-2000 compiles songs from a broad range of artists on the label and presents them in a comprehensive and exciting way. Although this CD is made of all previously available tracks (two were still unissued on CD: the Wondeur Brass and Les Poules selections), special care has been put in the running order, which makes it enjoyable as a whole. The label had to stretch the definition of the song format a lot to find enough material, though. Selections from Wondeur Brass, Justine, Papa Boa, André Duchesne and Joane Hétu are all strong avant-rock songs. The more classy contemporary song stylings of Pierre Cartier and Geneviève Letarte bring a pensive touch to the ensemble, but one can question the presence of more atmospheric or improvised pieces like Diane Labrosse’s Constellations and Liberté, or Martin Tétreault and Michel F Côté’s Juin. All lyrics are sung in French of course, but in most cases they are not essential to the comprehension of the music itself. Ambiances Magnétiques, Vol. 5: Chante! 1985-2000 does not bring anything new to the table, but it reminds us of the label’s commitment to song writing and makes a good introduction to the more accessible portion of its catalogue.