Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 421, May 11, 2004

La machine à explorer le tempo is an epic and narrative work. Cinema turned into music. Not so strange since Lepage wrote soundtracks for over hundred films and documentaries. The work is performed by the La Nef Ensemble. A suite in three parts, each part subdivived in 6 minor parts. This ensemble is specialised in playing early and traditional music, as well as new music. Founded in 1991 developped into a very dynamic and eclectic ensemble. Here they play a new work on new and traditional instruments: Stéphane Allard (violin, baritone violin), Ganesh Anadan (percussion), Nicolas Boucher (sampling and live sound treatment), Nicolas Caloia (double bass), Yanik Cloutier (guitar, banjo), Claire Gignac (flutes, ritual flutes, tenor saxophone), Patrick Graham (percussion), Betsy MacMillan (viola da gamba), Alain Trudel (trombone, sackbut) and Samuel Vero (trumpet, piccolo trumpet). Together they give away a very joyful and fresh rendition of La machine… , recorded during concert on march 8th, 2003. All three parts are introduced by Lepage and evoke different aspects of time: the time that passes, the time that hurries by and distorted time. Lepage is inspired by the novel of H.G.Wells Time Machine. The three parts differ in many respects. We hear different types of music and musical styles. Nice melodies and themes where you immediately ask yourself where did I hear that before, but that are impossible to identify. As a consequence the music often sounds ‘familiar’ and ‘safe’. The instrumentation ranges from traditional instruments like viola da gamba to live sampling. Beautiful banjo playing by Yanik Cloutier and extravagant trombone playing by Alain Trudel, etc. Considering this great diversity we should compliment Louis Babin for the arrangements, because the work changes colours very naturally. A nice work by workaholic Robert Lepage.