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François Couture, AllMusic, January 25, 2007

When it comes to free improvisation in the province of Quebec, we all think first of Montréal, then perhaps Québec (and Victoriaville, but there is no local scene there, only the FIMAV festival). Who would have thought that an experimental music community could emerge from Rimouski, a small city way up on the St. Lawrence River? And yet, that is what happened in the mid-2000’s with the recurring Rencontres de musiques spontanées event and the inception in 2006 of the Tour de Bras label. Dix situations précaires, that label’s second release (following local group P.O.W.E.R.’s Tomahawk Territory), documents a September 2005 concert featuring local musicians and well-known improvisers from Montréal. The instrumentation of this quartet is not a particularly frequent one: clarinet and bass clarinet Lori Freedman), cello (James Darling), sampler (Diane Labrosse) and percussion (Gabriel Dionne). Edited and mastered by Labrosse, the album proposes ten excerpts from the performance, ranging from two to 11 minutes in duration. Freedman and Darling connect marvelously well at a lyrical, quasi-melodic level, their interactions feeding much emotion into these free improvisations. Darling’s yearning flights are behind many highlights - one wishes he was more active in free improv. Labrosse’s dynamically-manipulated samples add an element of alienation and disturbance that often signals changes in the development of the music. Dionne laces his percussion work through it all, tying things together, especially when he turns to the vibraphone, a timbre that meshes in surprisingly well with the bass clarinet. Dix situations précaires is a rather subdued album of free improvisation, without getting to the extreme sparseness of the quiet improv approach.

Dix situations précaires is a rather subdued album of free improvisation…

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