Montréal-based sound artist Martin Tétreault is a complete turntablist. He understands the vinyl player’s anatomy like a gifted surgeon, having crafted sounds and forcefully extracted noises from those golden spinning machines for well over 20 years. But Snipettes! and the accompanied Morceaux Choisis offers a different (and much appreciated) retroactive look at the artist’s utterly outstanding sampling chops.
Initially released in 1992 in the cassette format (limited to 250 copies), Snipettes! and Morceaux Choisis (two seemingly separate projects on the same disc) are absolute joys to discover. Offering more of an honest separation from Martin’s more experimental works, Snipettes! is the golden prize here, with its familiar repertoire sampled from one singular album: Eddie Osborne’s Baldwin Organ & Bongos from the Audio Fidelity label (a cheeky 60s record New York’s WFMU seems to spin all the time as background material). With its rather simplified cheeseball organs and powder room percussions, the album— sampled and shred to pieces in the midst of the sample debates of the early 90s by Tétreault — is a pure sugar spun delight. Heck, I think I’ll throw this on the player alongside Nino Rota’s La Dolce Vita during my next ultra hip supper party. Snipettes! is a true slice of life.
The second half of the release, officially titled Morceaux Choisis 1984-86, is an earlier compilation of experimental works mostly founded on Tétreault’s intuitive stylings, still somewhat primitive par rapport to his current positioning as a masterful turntable manipulator. However, this also proves wildly inventive and joyful with exquisite titles like “Bien-Être Extra-Ordinaire” and “The Political Kurtzweil on the Market” (a track Martin explains as being “a floppy record sliced into four equal pieces and reassembled”). Furthermore, its use of musique concrète serves as a direct polar opposite to the first half’s kitschy sounds.
Tétreault is nothing short of a sampling king in my book, with a wildman technique all his own. And this album easily rivals all works by his pal Kid Koala. It just might be a little cassette classic, coincidentally, much like Koala’s Scratchhappyland.