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Dix situations précaires Lori Freedman, James Darling, Diane Labrosse, Gabriel Dionne

… the cautious sounds are quite evocative and thoughtfully constructed. Downtown Music Gallery, ÉU

Listeners who welcome aural challenges are rewarded with the sounds of distinctive four-way interplay. Opus, Canada

Dix situations précaires

Lori Freedman, James Darling, Diane Labrosse, Gabriel Dionne

La presse en parle

  • Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, 11 mars 2011
    … the cautious sounds are quite evocative and thoughtfully constructed.
  • Gilles Boisclair, SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, no 14:2, 1 juin 2007
  • Ken Waxman, Opus, no 30:2, 1 juin 2007
  • Ken Waxman, Opus, no 30:2, 1 juin 2007
    Listeners who welcome aural challenges are rewarded with the sounds of distinctive four-way interplay.
  • Luc Bouquet, ImproJazz, no 134, 1 avril 2007
  • Tom Sekowski, The WholeNote, 1 mars 2007
    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.
  • François Couture, AllMusic, 25 janvier 2007
    Dix situations précaires is a rather subdued album of free improvisation…

Review

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, 11 mars 2011

We know clarinetist Lori Freedman & sampler-player Diane Labrosse from various discs on the Ambiances Magnetiques label. They other two players are new names for me. This disc was recorded live the Vieux-Theatre in Saint-Fabien in September of 2005. Much of this skeletal, cautious improv. The blending of the acoustic instruments (clarinet, cello & percussion) with the sampler is often subtle and well-integrated. At times it seems as if there is little going on yet there is a great deal of space and interaction at a more minimal level. There a number of eerie moments as well. Although this disc is not excitement-producing, the cautious sounds are quite evocative and thoughtfully constructed.

… the cautious sounds are quite evocative and thoughtfully constructed.

Lancements

Gilles Boisclair, SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, no 14:2, 1 juin 2007

L’album Dix situations précaires présente un quartet à l’instrumentation peu courante, James Darling, violoncelle, Gabriel Dionne, percussions, Lori Freedman, clarinettes et Diane Labrosse, échantillonnages, et leur musique de chambre contemporaine improvisée, où les instruments s’entrecroisent avec légèreté, complicité et même douceur. Le jeu de chacun est nuancé, comme par exemple l’approche toute en retenue de Diane Labrosse. Les musiciens jouent des phrases courtes, d’où se dégage une impression de pointillisme sonore.

Listening Post

Ken Waxman, Opus, no 30:2, 1 juin 2007

Utilizing the skills accessible from legitimate musical training, extended instrumental techniques and the supplementary textures available from an electronic sampler, these “10 risky situations” balance on the edge between free improvisation and contemporary classical music. Involved are two instructors at the Conservatoire de Musique de Rimouski (Quebec): James Darling, who is also the cellist of Quatuor St-Germain; and Gabriel Dionne, the Conservatoire’s percussion head. They’re matched with two Montréalers: clarinetist Lori Freedman, known for her free improvisation collaborations as well as notated New music efforts; and Diane Labrosse, here manipulating the sampler, though she usually composes multi-media, theatre and dance pieces. Overall, Labrosse’s instrument’s electronic pitch warbles and whooshing flutters plus the sinewy vibraphone resonation or ratcheting drum top pitter-patter from Dionne create background landscapes. In the foreground are the contrapuntal interactions of - or double counterpoint between - Darling and Freedman. One or the other advances a motif - say low-pitched legato bowing from the cellist, or squeaking, altissimo smears from clarinetist - and with the response, aggregate themes and variations are developed - then electronics and percussion fill in any spaces. Two pieces Parler tout seul and Marcher sur des œufs depart from this strategy with memorable results, as each extends virtuosity past the 10-minute mark. A darkly tinged nocturne, the former contrasts repetitive, low-pitched exhalation from the clarinetist with resonating tubular bell shimmers, until a conclusive cello vibrato provides the connective thread to make logical as well as musical sense of the tune. Initially as fragile as its title posits, the later piece unfolds on top of vibrating electronic crackle and drones plus pitter-pattering vibe and cymbal resonation, as both Freedman and Darling emphasize rigid instrumental timbres. Eventually, abrasive sul tasto string sweeps and high-pitched reed yelps sound unmodified, negating the delicacy of “egg walking”. Listeners who welcome aural challenges are rewarded with the sounds of distinctive four-way interplay.

Listeners who welcome aural challenges are rewarded with the sounds of distinctive four-way interplay.

Review

Tom Sekowski, The WholeNote, 1 mars 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.

Review

François Couture, AllMusic, 25 janvier 2007

When it comes to free improvisation in the province of Quebec, we all think first of Montréal, then perhaps Québec (and Victoriaville, but there is no local scene there, only the FIMAV festival). Who would have thought that an experimental music community could emerge from Rimouski, a small city way up on the St. Lawrence River? And yet, that is what happened in the mid-2000’s with the recurring Rencontres de musiques spontanées event and the inception in 2006 of the Tour de Bras label. Dix situations précaires, that label’s second release (following local group P.O.W.E.R.’s Tomahawk Territory), documents a September 2005 concert featuring local musicians and well-known improvisers from Montréal. The instrumentation of this quartet is not a particularly frequent one: clarinet and bass clarinet Lori Freedman), cello (James Darling), sampler (Diane Labrosse) and percussion (Gabriel Dionne). Edited and mastered by Labrosse, the album proposes ten excerpts from the performance, ranging from two to 11 minutes in duration. Freedman and Darling connect marvelously well at a lyrical, quasi-melodic level, their interactions feeding much emotion into these free improvisations. Darling’s yearning flights are behind many highlights - one wishes he was more active in free improv. Labrosse’s dynamically-manipulated samples add an element of alienation and disturbance that often signals changes in the development of the music. Dionne laces his percussion work through it all, tying things together, especially when he turns to the vibraphone, a timbre that meshes in surprisingly well with the bass clarinet. Dix situations précaires is a rather subdued album of free improvisation, without getting to the extreme sparseness of the quiet improv approach.

Dix situations précaires is a rather subdued album of free improvisation…

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