Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 749, September 27, 2010

Canada’s Et Records has been going since 2003, and so far released nine releases. These three are all recent, so their catalogue suddenly expands in a big way. We find this label in the world of improvised music. The first one is by one Jean René, who plays acoustic and electric viola and electric guitar. Unlike many of his peers, René plays his instruments in such a way that we can recognize them. The viola is a viola, the guitar is a guitar. That is, perhaps to some, a traditional approach, and that’s also an approach we find in his music. A piece like Outardes sound almost like baroque music. That is however a rarity. Another rarity is Morue, which is the most onkyo piece around here. In his other pieces he shows a love for minimal music in a classical sense. He uses a bit of delay on some of the pieces, to add that sustaining sound. Sometimes it reminds me of very old Steve Reich or Philip Glass music (Prune could be a small version of Violin Phase), but René keeps his pieces very short (somewhere between two and five minutes) and presents them as small miniatures.

Behind Mecha Fixes Clocks we find Michel F Côté (keyboards, electronics, microphones, drums and percussions), but unlike his other releases, this is not a solo or duo work, but, at least from what I gather, a work he composed and plays on, but with extended group of thirteen players, among them Martin Tétreault, Tom Walsh and Jean René. Instruments listed include trumpet, flutes, guitar, clarinet, french horn, trombone and such like. Nine pieces of some great orchestral music. Moving slowly, like gentle minimal music, which slowly, over the course of these pieces built up. It combines improvisation (although sparsely here), with minimal glissandi and small melodies, which rise up from those gentle waves of heavily and heavenly layered small orchestral sounds. Think Olivia Block, but perhaps with a bit more improvisation in some parts. Great chamber music, relaxed atmosphere, jolly fine music.

La Parte Maudite is a trio of Philippe Battikha (trumpet, pedals), Mivil Deschênes (bass, pedals) and Patrick Dion (drums). This is, at least for me, the release I didn’t like that much. The music is that of a heavy nature. Loud bursts of controlled and probably less controlled musical outbursts. Music that comes from that specific cross road of improvised music, loud rock and free jazz. Loud and blearing. One of the things that made me not like this that much was the use of the trumpet. It seems to be coming, at least for me, too much from the world of jazz. I understand the raw power and energy of this trio, but in the end the result didn’t win me over. I’d rather go back to the previous two releases.