La vie qui bat was the working title for Montréal guitarist René Lussier’s duo with drummer Pierre Tanguay. La vie qui bat: Chèvre (“The Beating Life: Goat”) was recorded in the studio sometime in 1996 and represents the serious side of the duo (while La vie qui bat: Chevreuil, released simultaneously, illustrates their buffoon side). This CD contains 16 short improvisations (nothing over six minutes), moments of spontaneous creation between two long-time friends and collaborators. Lussier plays acoustic guitar in his very own twisted style that lies somewhere between Fred Frith and Eugene Chadbourne (one piece is even dedicated to the latter). Tanguay is remarkable as much for his drumming as for his ability to hold back. He often limits his playing to cymbals, like on L’Ouïe compense… (“Hearing Compensates”), Trois pattes (“Three Legs”), and La chèvre et son poteau (“The Goat and Its Stake”) where he only provides a quarter-note beat on the hi-hat. The last minute of Tête de cochon shows the two musicians battling for who will get the last word. Ça phosphore su’a tasse and mostly Libre pour compilation (“Free for Compilation” — it actually ended up on the compilation CD Ambiances Magnétiques, Vol. 2: Hourra pour la Bastringue) constitute high-altitude improvs, dense and engaging. More self-absorbed than La vie qui bat: Chevreuil, this album is nevertheless more rewarding, especially for those who usually find Lussier’s antics irritating. Recommended.