Dur Noyau Dur

René Lussier, Martin Tétreault

on jurerait parfois d’un travail électroacoustique d’exception. Fear Drop, France

This work will either fascinate or frustrate you depending of your level of open-mindedness, […] If you prescribe to the “sound as art” school, you will enjoy it wholeheartedly. Nightwaves, Canada

Dur Noyau Dur c’est René Lussier aux guitares avec ou sans électricité et Martin Tétreault aux tourne-disques avec ou sans vinyle. Ravageur et lyrique à la fois, ce duo nous le démontre de multiple façons: en grattant, en frappant, en picotant, en récurrant, en polissant, en s’émouvant, en réfléchissant, bref en travaillant la matière sonore.

C’est sans compromis qu’ils bâtissent une musique étonnante et électrissante, une musique au corpus ferme et inattaquable, Dur Noyau Dur. Comme ils se plaisent à le dire «On respecte notre mandat»

CD (AM 057)

  • Étiquette: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 057
  • 1998
  • UCC 771028105724
  • Durée totale: 60:15
  • Boîtier Jewel
  • 125 mm × 142 mm × 10 mm
  • 95 g

Sur le web

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La presse en parle


Jérôme Langlais, Fear Drop, no 7, 1 avril 2001

Improvisateurs québécois astucieux, Lussier et Tétreault — respectivement guitariste et platiniste — n’en sont pas à leur première collaboration et officient depuis de longues années au sein du collectif Ambiances magnétiques. Issues de sessions prises live en 97, ces pièces dures évoquent une rencontre totalement libre et saccadée des cordes et de (souvent courtes) séquences sonores issues des platines et radios de Tétreault. Lussier utilise tous les détails de ses instruments, du grattage ludique au récurage nerveux tandis que Tétreault pique son interlocuteur d’assauts fourbes (la fausse politesse dans Enrayure) et racleurs qui provoquent des demangeaisons dans le conduit auditif. Les accalmies arrivent à point nomme pour souffer un peu (le gris et bien nomme Sépulture) avant les nouveaux craquements, les nouvelles nodosités et un final dissonant. Si l’on n’avait conscience du tout joue sans fioritures de ces 21 morsures, on jurerait parfois (surtout sur la partie Prise de terre) d’un travail électroacoustique d’exception. Tous les mots choisis dans le livret définissent parfaitement ce disque en Ure. Lire l’excellente interview de Tétreault dans Revue & Corrigée n40

on jurerait parfois d’un travail électroacoustique d’exception.


Nick Mott, Audion, no 42, 1 mars 2000

Lussier (guitars) and Tétreault (turntables) battle it out on 21 tracks with titles all ending in “ur” or “ure”. There are some great textures and sounds here. It is extremely intense and noisy a lot of the time, but in turn can also be admirably restrained. Spontaneous ideas are picked-up and tossed around, or only fleetingly glimpsed at. At times it sounds like people just messing around with a bunch of stuff. Which, by the way, is a good thing!


Gary Flanagan, Nightwaves, no 4, 1 novembre 1999

This work represents a virtual melange of found sounds (recorded in real time without benefit of samplers). Abrupt guitar strummings come and go, couped with the sound of somebody stumbling through a room in the dark. The sound manipulations of avant-garde guru Martin Tétreault (turntables, pick-ups, radios) are combined with the ultra minimal, spastic guitar workings of René Lussier. This work will either fascinate or frustrate you, depending on your level of open-mindedness. If you prescribe to the “sound as art” school, you will enjoy it wholeheartedly.

Tétreault has been gaining much exposure lately for his very nonconventional approach to turntables. He is more concerned with the noises that turntables can produce by manipulating and altering the internal mechanisms, rather than what the machine can produce by gliding a needle through some grooves. This tinkering seems to produce both interesting and forgettable results. Dur noyau dur sounds less like an album of non-music than it does an art school project by two sound chemists. There isn’t one hint of conformity on this entire disc.

This work will either fascinate or frustrate you depending of your level of open-mindedness, […] If you prescribe to the “sound as art” school, you will enjoy it wholeheartedly.


Davis Ford, Etch, no 5:3, 1 juin 1999
… one of the finest records of the year — hands down.


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 168, 4 avril 1999

Michel Ratté may not be very well known outside of Canada, but Lussier and Tétreault sure are. Lussier played with Duck & Cover, Les Quatre Guitaristes de L’Apocalypso Bar, Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Heiner Goebbels, etc. It strikes me that Lussier plays also in many duo combinations: Fred Frith, Jean Derome, Robert Lepage and some others from the French-Canadian scene. He seems to have a preference for improvisation as a duo: it takes two to improvise? Here Lussier plays with Martin Tétreault. Tétreault is a French Canadian from Montréal who plays and performs with turntables and related objects. He was in fine arts in the past. One day he started working with records instead of cutting up paper, and so it all began. Later — around 1989 — he participated in the Broken Music Exhibition with Christian Marclay and played with many musicians inside and outside of Canada. On the present CD, it is not only quoting from records what we hear, using them as sound source and giving the listener experiences of recognition. The record and the turntable are also used as such, as objects with their own possibilities, apart from the music that is on the record. Here the sound is very abstract (abstracted from what are traditional sound sources to our ears). Lussier can be heard on acoustic and electric guitars. The music is very exciting, radical sound improvisation.

The music is very exciting, radical sound improvisation.

Broken music maker

Art Lange, The Wire, no 180, 1 février 1999

New Music is where you find it, but for heavy electroacoustics and crosscultural blends of free improvisation and song. Montréal is presently the place to be. Turntablist Martin Tétreault works at the centre of the city’s beehive of musical activity, alongslide a bevy of inquisitive, explorative artists, such as guitarist René Lussier, saxophonist Jean Derome, vocalist/multi-intrumentalist Joane Hétu, keyboardist Diane Labrosse and percussionist Michel F Côté. A mix of studied intuition and wild experimentation, Tétreault’s hands-on approach to turntables is doubtless unlike any other you’ve heard. He collaborated tow of last year’s most engaging CDs Dur noyau dur with René Lussier (my vote for the best free Improv disc of the year) and Callas:La diva et le vinyle, a tongue-in-cheek deconstructivist homage to opera legend Maria Callas, recorded with clarinettist Robert Marcel Lepage. Tétreault didn’t come up throught the usual musical channels, wich might account for why he’s so different. As he relates in his fluent French-accented English, “I began in 1984, switching from fine art to music. To make it short, I was doing things in visual art, very minimalist stuff, cutting paper and things like that, and one day I decided to cut a record. At first it was not for music, it was only to cut something other than paper. But I put it on a turntable and thought, ‘Wow, it works’ It was not something I planned, to become a musician, but just this very simple action completely changed my artistic direction. “Though he hadn’t heard any of HipHop’s pathbreaking turntablists, he immediatly jumped into the fray. A predilection for skewered stylistic juxtapositions and intensely textural, rather than rhythmical, effects asserted itself. “I was completely into New Music when I began,” he says. “More recently I’ve listened to new DJ stuff like DJ Spooky, DJ Shadow— a little more commercial, but I think it’s interesting, very important for pop music. People want to introduce me to DJs that are more HipHop here in Montréal, but I know more about the work of Otomo Yoshihide, Christian Marclay, David Shea, that generation Christian Marclay and I played together in Montréal in 89, for a Broken Music exhibition. I met Otomo in that same period, I think it was 1991. He sent me tapes and asked me if I wanted to work with him. But he’s a very busy person. So last year I was in Japan to play with him and then he came to Canada and we did a tour. “

Working with so many different musicians and in so many varied settings, at home and on the road, challenges Tétreault to invent new sounds for each context. Yet he rarely includes random radio play among his sound effects, and eschews samplers or other electronic devices. He still concentrates on vinyl LPs and the turntable machinery itself as sound sources. “ I consider the turntable to be a music instrument,” he asserts. “Take the electric guitar, for instance. There’s no two guitars that sound the same, and it’s the same with turntables. I have some customised turntables with modified motors and speeds and so on, and more than 3000 records in my collection. Each record is classified by musical instrument—percussion, strings, electronics. spoken words, things like that When I work with panticular records, I go and make a kind of composition—let’s try this percussion sound with these strings if it’s for an improvising concert, I will work in that way, but other times it must be more precise. For example, Jean Derome’s Hommage à Georges Perec /Je me souviens) is a composition for big band, 13 musicians playing a kind of intentionally cliched 1950s music, and every part was written out except for mine. I was the only person who was free. So I created my part at home, and put stickers on the records for visual cueing, so that it’s very controlled, and I can repeat it at exactly the same way, the same speed, every time. On another project with René Lussier and Diane Labrosse, I played with prepared records and prepared needles—no musical quotations, only surface noise from the LP and things stuck on the record to make rhythmic effects. But that’s different from what I normally do, it’s more “musique d’objet”. And I just completed a new solo CD done with only parasite noise from turntables—no scratching, only the sound of motors and things like that. Every project is different, because there are a lot of possibilities, and every time I say to myself I will try to do something different than before.

My vote for best improv disc of the year.


Dwight Loop, Earwaves Network, 1 janvier 1999

Turntables mix with guitars for rock steady experimentalism and noise.


Richard Cochrane, Earscape, no 1, 3 octobre 1998

Tétreault’s electronics and turntable manipulations have the primeval sound of early Ircam experiments; an unstable, glitching quality which gives these duets their edge. They are mostly short pieces — averaging 2 minutes or so, the briefest just 11 seconds — and this enables the pair to explore and experiment without risking the most common downfall of this kind of music, simply getting lost and boring the listener rigid. Lussier plays with great verve: on electric guitar he often blends with Tétreault, preferring abstract noise to notes, while on acoustic he takes a more conventional route, echoing Derek Bailey but sometimes even using a slide to create oblique country blues references.

Each piece has an identity of its own, mainly due to the range of sounds which both players create, though Tétreault is especially careful not to repeat himself too much here; this makes the whole that much more approachable. In duet terms, Tétreault can sometimes be overbearing, and there are times when the two appear not to be listening to one another, but sometimes that is not so bad in this kind of music. Often enough, two different approaches emerge simultaneously and diverge; the listener must strain to follow their differing lines of argument until, some of the time at least, they converge again. This is an hour spent in intriguing company.

This is an hour spent in intriguing company.


Marie-Pierre Bionniol, Guitar Part, 1 octobre 1998

Terroristes, talentueux et innovants, René Lussier et Martin Tétreault sont deux Québécois qui se moquent des conventions, ces protocoles musicaux, figures imposées avec au moins au milieu trois accords en Ré. Tétreault, également connu dans le milieu de l’art contemporain pour ses détournements de vinyls est de ceux qui, à l’instar de Marclay ou de Yoshihide, démontent à grands coups de burin le mythe du DJ. Certes, il ne compose et improvise qu’à base de LPs mais cela dans un esprit nettement plus trituré, scratchant pour la milliseconde de craquement, faisant zipper le plastique afin de biseauter le diamant. René Lussier, lui, est un guitariste tatouilleur à qui aucune expérimentation ne fait peur: larsen, effets, objets, rien que du bruit anthropomorphique venant d’un instrument qu’il a su, au fil des années, dompter. Expérimental et extrême, ce disque tout en finesse saura interpeller les malicieux et les infatigables curieux.


Art Lange, Pulse!, 1 septembre 1998

In the 1950s, electronic composers began working with live instrumentalists, creating electroacoustic music and fulfilling the prophecy of the Futurists back before World War 1. Today, improvisers like the Québécois duo of guitarist Lussier and turntable-manipulator Tétreault have taken hold of the technology, slicing and splicing together the most outrageous sounds imaginable. Every piece constructs its own form from scratch, literally; their music is a collage of percussive clatter, radio static, distorted sounds from LPs, and abstract guitar timbres. The results have an almost tactile feel and unearthly ambiance— Nervure sounds like amplified steel-wool against the electroacoustic music and fulfilling the prophecy of the Futurists back before World War 1. Today, improvisers like the Québécois duo of guitarist Lussier and turntable-manipulator Tétreault have taken hold of the technology, slicing and splicing together the most outrageous sounds imaginable. Every piece constructs its own form from scratch, literally; their music is a collage of percussive clatter, radio static, distorted sounds from LPs, and abstract guitar timbres. The results have an almost tactile feel and unearthly ambiance— Nervure sounds like amplified steel-wool against the surface of a vinyl disc, and Azur could be the soundtrack to John Fahey’s nightmare. Don’t listen for conventional melody or regular rhythms; the music is in the confusion of sounds and sources. ★★★★


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no 37, 1 septembre 1998

Autre duo, plus extrémiste, surtout plus bruitiste. Les guitares dans tous leurs états, à la fois électriques et acoustiques, associées aux scratches, bruitages et autres sonorités liées à la manipulation de tourne-disques et de radios. Vingt et une confrontations (où est passée la 22e, «manufacture»?) et un concept - les noms en «ure» - susceptible d’être renouvele près de vingt fois. Exploration d’un champ lexical, à travers l’extension d’un champ sonore? A moins que cela ne soit le contraire! Ou tout simplement le pretexte d’une rencontre fructueuse? Après tout, rien n’interdit de faire les mêmes exercices avec les mots en «age»: Mais mon nom ne serait pas en phase avec le concept.

Compact Discs

Chris Yurkiw, Montreal Mirror, 9 juillet 1998

New-music turntablist Martin Tétreault has come a long way since his last album, 1990’s Des pas et des mois, which is good and bad. It’s good if you’re looking for noise terror even more extreme (and barely identifiable as emanating from vinyl), as in Tétreault’s duo with guitarist René Lussier.

L’homme de chantiers; René Lussier est la cheville ouvrière de l’improvisation

Serge Truffaut, Le Devoir, 16 mai 1998

René Lussier est peut-être bien un homme de chantiers. Depuis des lunes, en fait depuis vingt-cinq ans, il construit. Il échafaude, il édifie, il maçonne. Il travaille beaucoup, énormément et toujours avec conviction. Probablement que des chantiers, musicaux s’entend, il est l’architecte. René Lussier est certainement un architecte des sons.

Signe des temps, à dire vrai de son temps, son agenda de travail est chargé. Tenez, la semaine qui s’achève a commencé par un spectacle, en compagnie de la Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ), au Palais Montcalm. Le lendemain, Lussier lançait un compact intitulé Chronique d’un génocide annoncé. On aura deviné qu’il s’agit là de la musique du film réalisé par Danièle Lacourse et Yvan Patry.

Les grands explorateurs

Demain à 13h, demain au Festival international de musique actuelle à Victoriaville, ce guitariste, compositeur, improvisateur se produira en solo. Un peu avant ou un peu après, il lancera deux albums qu’il a réalisés avec le batteur Pierre Tanguay. Les titres? La Vie qui bat? chèvre et La Vie qui bat? chevreuil. Antérieurement à tout cela, mais récemment, il a lancé un album confectionné avec Martin Tétreault aux tables tournantes, pick-up et radio. C’est pas fini.

Le 29 mai, dans le cadre de l’émission Les Décrocheurs d’étoiles à Radio-Canada, sera diffusé un long collage poésie-musique que Lussier a concocté avec le poète franco-ontarien Patrice Desbiens, qui incidemment fut le sujet de notre entrevue du lundi; du dernier lundi. Puis, le 20 juin, en compagnie de Pierre Tanguay et du chanteur Fred Fortin, ce sera le show Gros Mené. Un show de chansons et rock sauvage. Ensuite, ce sera une série de trois concerts de musique improvisée au Musée d’art contemporain.

Soyons un instant comptable. Faisons les comptes comme les additions. René Lussier, c’est 20 albums parus sous son nom; 24 participations aux albums des autres; 55 musiques pour des courts métrages ou des documentaires, et enfin six compositions commandées par la SMCQ, Tim Brady, etc. Bref, l’inventaire de ce qu’a accompli ce musicien de 41 ans en impose.

Ce souci ou cette éthique du travail que Lussier cultive constamment avec humour est probablement la conséquence ou l’antidote à ce constat qui est sien: «Il est évident que le showbiz n’a pas été fait pour notre musique. Chaque note qu’on joue est contre la musique commerciale.»

Lorsqu’il emploie le «nous», il parle de lui et de Martin Tétreault, de Pierre Tanguay et de Jean Derome, de Robert Marcel Lepage, de Tom Walsh, de Joae Hétu… Bref, il parle de toute la bande qui a formé et tient à bout de bras depuis une vingtaine d’années l’étiquette Ambiances Magnétiques.

Il parle d’eux, tous ces musiciens montréalais, mais aussi de Fred Frith, de Evan Parker, d’Eugene Chadbourne, de Hans Reichel, de Derek Bailey, de Marilyn Crispell… soit tous ces musiciens ou artistes européens comme américains qui préfèrent explorer des territoires inconnus plutôt que les territoires des lieux communs, des poncifs. Entre eux comme entre ces continents, ils se connaissent et se fréquentent régulièrement.

Dur noyau duret les autres

Dur noyau dur, c’est le titre de l’album qu’il vient de signer avec Martin Tétreault. C’est un disque fait de sculptures sonores. C’est Lussier à la guitare électrique et Tétreault aux tables tournantes, pick-up et radio. C’est surtout «le goût de faire une musique ayant une charge électrique. Une chose ayant de la puissance et aucune censure». Dur noyau dur, c’est un long écho musical «à une phrase de Claude Gauvreau: n’ayons pas peur du bizarre échevelé».

Dur noyau dur, c’est également des titres en dur. C’est Azur, Bouture, Brûlure, Cyanure, Dictature, Emmanchure, Engelure, Enrayure, Fioriture, Froidure, Gravure, Jointure, Luxure, Manufacture, Mercure, Nervure, Obscur, Parjure, Revoyure, Sciure, Sculpture et Sépulture. Dur noyau dur se compose des chapitres de… n’importe quelle vie.

Il échafaude, il édifie, il maçonne. Il travaille beaucoup, énormément et toujours avec conviction.


Rubberneck, no 28, 1 février 1998

The abstract guitarism of René Lussier proves a better foil to Tétreault’s repertoire of textured sounds. In fact Lussier often gets a long way from the “musical” in the course of the collaboration. He plays both acoustic and electric guitars and is particularly impressive exploiting the tonal range of the former. His suggestive harmonics and strangulated lines bring a desicated Iyricism to bear on work which is always pushing in the direction of noise. Tétreault uses a broader set of sounds than on the Callas album, coming across at times like a kind of lo-fi real-time sampler. There’s a terrific scratchiness to the noises the two make even when they rub each other up the wrong way it feels right.

… even when they rub each other the wrong way it feels right.


François Couture, AllMusic, 3 décembre 1997

This is not guitarist René Lussier and turntablist Martin Tétreault’s first collaboration. They both appeared on Des pas et des mois, at a time when the latter worked with prepared LPs. When Dur noyau dur was recorded, Tétreault was becoming more and more interested in using the turntable without its usual apparatus, as an instrument in its own right. Lussier’s artistic path also forayed into more abstract music, moving toward free form, sound event-based improvisation. This album shows both musicians grasping for a new vocabulary, while occasionally reverting to their old one (Tétreault with his sped-up death metal record on Nervure). Results are interesting, but not totally convincing. They show in which direction the two musicians will head during the following years. The duo’s 2000 follow-up CD Qu’ouïs-je made a much stronger statement. Tracks 12 through 21 make up a 23 minute suite written by Lussier, a dense and noisy sound art work which culminates in Emmanchure (Tétreault’s amplified needle-directly-on-the-deck can sound quite lugubrious). The first half of the CD is made of improvisations. Even Lussier’s die-hard fans will have difficulties relating to this album, unless they have heard some of his other post-1997 releases or are already aficionados of abstract sound art. Weaker than Qu’ouïs-je, it remains recommendable.

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