Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 778, April 26, 2011

Four new releases from Ambiances Magnetiques. One of them is by veteran Joane Hétu, who worked on a career that more then 25 years now. You may know her from all-women groups Wondeur Brass, Justine and Les Poules. Avant rock was their thing. Gradually Hetu moved however to more abstract territories and profiled herself as a composer. Récits de neige is the third part of a trilogy about winter, this time a very snowy winter. Effectively Hetu evokes and visualizes this climate. Helped out by the Ensemble Supermusique. Prominent is a french spoken text no doubt about winter and snow. The music often plays a servile role for the performance of the texts, and that works tiring from time to time. Many of the pure instrumental parts however, sometimes jazzy and always very inspired, learned me more about the winter. I enjoyed the interplay of the musicians and easily forgot all discomfortable aspects of the winter through this emotional work. Speaking of Danielle Roger Palardy I can repeat the above introduction as she walked a similar route as Hetu. Again we are in the company of a core member of the Montréal “musique actuelle” scene since 1980. She Works as a self-taught percussionist, composer and improviser. Her newest release Pinta, Niña & Maria, has much to offer. It brings together three pieces written for three very different ensembles: GGRIL, Ensemble SuperMusique and ECM+. This way Roger provides us an excellent overview of her new music activities. In the first composition by Roger many dissonants are included, in a context of thick and noisy sounds in part 3, whereas in part 4 and 5 the music is more subtile but again staying close to noisy textures and tensions. The second work blends electronics with acoustical instruments, composed in an more traditional style with rock elements. The third piece starts like a piece of string-based chambermusic, but is mixed with percussive and other sounds of electronic and acoustical origin. With Rouge Ciel we are in the company of younger generation of musicians but not necessarily presented to more up to date music. Bryologie is the third effort by this avant rock group. A band led by Guido Del Fabbro (violin and electronics), and completed by Simon Lapointe (keyboards), Antonin Provost (guitars) and Nemo Venba (trumpet and drums). More then on their earlier records they profile themselves as a rockband. Continuing a line that had more representatives in the past of Ambiances Magnetiques. Now they are most close to Miriodor considering this aspect. One could think from this Rouge Ciel lives in the past, but that does no justice to them. Using forms that we know from the past they are not into a simple retro journey without any phantasy. Far from it. Their instrumental music is rock-based but intelligently combined with improvisation. Although they play with energy and drive, their compositions miss that little extra to make it really worthwhile. The true surprise this time comes from Isaiah Ceccarelli, a drummer, improviser, composer and singer from Montréal. His newest work, Bréviaire d’épuisements, is composed for two singers, two bass clarinets, viola da gamba and solo percussion. It is a collection of short pieces composed in a stripped down manner for texts by poet Marie Deschênes. In contrast with the other three CDs is one chooses for a much more sober approach. From a drummer one expects playing dominated by rhythm. But that is not the case here. In contrast Ceccarelli is more involved in drones and textures, that is illustrated impressively by the opening track. The first of four instrumental interludes that are mixed with seven vocal parts. Like the composition also the singing and playing is very disciplined, giving all the subtleties maximum strength. I don’t know what the poems are about, but the work almost has the effect on me of some kind of prayer. It is not for this association that I liked this one most.

I enjoyed the interplay of the musicians […] through this emotional work.