The New & Avant-garde Music Store

Review

Tom Sekowski, The WholeNote, March 1, 2007

One half of this new music quartet hails from the small city of Rimouski, while the other half hails the metropolis of Montréal (though one of these individuals actually spends a lot of time in Europe). Percussionist Gabriel Dionne along with cellist James Darling make up the Rimouski contingent, with two women — clarinettist Lori Freedman and Diane Labrosse on the sampler — make up the “big town” cluster. To be fair to all musicians involved, neither faction takes precedence. Even though Labrosse edited the session (which was recorded at a live setting back in September 2005), credit is shared equally amongst the players. Each one adds a specific flavour to the recording. Without one of these musicians, the session would fall flat; the soup wouldn’t have its unique taste. Knowing Freedman and Labrosse’s work, it’s rather surprising how subtle their approach is on this session. If anything, subdued is the word that pops into my head. Freedman still plays some lovely bass clarinet motifs, while Darling jumps in with wickedly innovative cello concoctions. Dionne’s percussive tandem is to walk a fine line between minimal percussion — just bells or scrapes on the cymbals and light strokes of the brushes. There’s no rhythm really to speak of, just broken-off percussive spews. In a few places, when Freedman turns it up a notch, she shines with unbridled clarinet fury. Her sounds appropriate squeaks of birds and people’s laughter. All the while, Labrosse samples individual sounds and serves these up in quite a delightful fashion. At times you’re not really sure who’s playing whom. Is it the sampler that’s running the show or the three other performers that are rallying up against the grain of technology? Sometimes her concoctions sound like wildly spruced up scratches, while at others they’re more foreign than human. Though subdued and largely on the quiet side of the spectrum, this wickedly satisfying recording has already found a regular slot in my CD player’s busy schedule.

Though subdued and largely on the quiet side of the spectrum, this wickedly satisfying recording has already found a regular slot in my CD player’s busy schedule.

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