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Jane and The Magic Bananas Jane and The Magic Bananas

Octobre 2011: «Merde, la musique peut parfois encore s’imaginer!», écrira Philippe Maubert-Duchasney, dans Inrockuptibles. Il ajoutera: «Vous aviez l’impression qu’il n’y a plus rien, et voici ce trio qui ponce à fond! Parce que oui, ça fonce dans les ch’lons, plein régime!» Il n’est pas toujours facile de comprendre l’essence d’un commentaire, même écrit en français. Maubert-Duchasney poursuivra ainsi: «Comment rendre en mot ce terrible combo canadien? Le verbe ne suffira pas, mais essayons ceci: un free-rock band à l’esthétique bananière, qu’aucune pelure n’arrêtera.» Philippe terminera son article en s’interrogeant sur l’identité de Jane: «Nana joyeusement pourvue, cette Jane utilise ses deux bananes avec doigté. Mais qui, des trois membres de ce trio, incarne l’aventurière, et qui sont donc les deux bananes? Je tente ceci: Sam est Jane, Alexandre et Michel F sont les bananes. Vive les singes!»

  • &records
  • ET 17 / 2012
  • Durée totale: 34:56

Jane and The Magic Bananas

Jane and The Magic Bananas

Sam Shalabi, Alexandre St-Onge, Michel F Côté

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La presse en parle

Improvisations expéditives

Luc Bouquet, Le son du grisli, 1 novembre 2012

Précepte cher à Glenn Branca, le petit jeu consistant à passer d’un apparent chaos à une transe évolutive, se retrouve plusieurs fois appliqué ici. Nous dirons donc que la guitare électrique de Sam Shalabi, la guitare basse d’Alexandre St-Onge et la batterie amplifiée de Michel F Côté œuvrent dans l’hypnotique et le dérèglement. Sachant s’échapper de la masse pour mieux faire bloc, nos trois sidérurgistes donnent aux sévices soniques quelques vives médailles: pièces courtes et déplumées, travaillant sur les micro-intervalles, souvent déphasées et grouillantes, elles prennent source dans la dissonance même. En ce sens, habitant un profond aven, impriment la douleur dans la chair d’une musique sauvage à souhait.

Sachant s’échapper de la masse pour mieux faire bloc, nos trois sidérurgistes donnent aux sévices soniques quelques vives médailles…

Heard In

Massimo Ricci, The Squid’s Ear, 7 septembre 2012

Shalabi’s electric guitar, St-Onge’s bass with electronics and Côté’s amplified drums swear to us that the improvisational momentousness defining other brave and more renowned trios is not lost yet. In the 35 minutes of Jane and The Magic Bananas they don’t seem to care too much about aesthetical laws: the interplay is often caustically cluttered and essentially introverted, although not completely deprived of elements of direct communication with the audience. The dynamic pendulum oscillates between elementary patterns as the basis of magnetic mutability (Jogging Along The Path Of El ’Gabar) and moments of arrhythmic emancipation, frequently scented with harmolodic essences (Young Men Share Excitement In Far Deep Tchoukotka and, especially, Mesa Verde’s Alien Sunset). Do not think that there’s no room for calmer types of investigation: In Which Jack’s Cruise Is Ended walks slowly, gradually, until the mounting tension produces an untidy heap of jarring intervals corroborated by soul-plaguing threats in deceivingly clumsy mechanisms.

It takes a while to realize that the initial perplexity elicited by the performers’ choices is in reality the reaction to a type of acoustic fractal geometry which needs to be taken as it is, in a warts-and-all kind of aural decontamination. No actual “beauty” to contemplate, no easy paths or tactful approaches. The instruments are played without surplus of fine-tuning — the quality of the respective timbres is, so to speak, brilliantly grubby — thus allowing the collective interaction to keep an uncomfortable edge perceptible throughout. This notwithstanding, the overall result is comparable to a short, solid fighter who — not endowed with huge technical and physical advantages — prefers a steady assault to the opponent’s body instead of an ineffective use of the jab. A distinct sense of compactness ultimately emerges from the energized discharges to warrant an affirmative verdict.

A distinct sense of compactness ultimately emerges from the energized discharges to warrant an affirmative verdict.

Review

Ken Waxman, The WholeNote, no 18:1, 1 septembre 2012

Exemplars of a distinctive Québécois aesthetic called Musique Actuelle, the oddly named Jane and the Magic Bananas is actually a trio of male performers who during nine bizarrely titled improvisations confirm the links between Heavy Metal and Musique Concrète.

With Michel F Côté’s drums electronically amplified, plus Alexandre St-Onge extending his resonating double bass lines with self-controlled electronics, and electric guitarist Sam Shalabi moving from arena-rock-styled flanged distortion to intricate and off-centre note clusters the sonic result is as aleatoric as it is atmospheric. A tune like Passing the Gates of Shalmir-Keshtoum for instance, languidly contrasts electrically oscillated bass motion with drum clatters and ruffs; whereas staccato guitar runs plus heavy-gauge bass strings plucked and resonating for maximum physicality, meet nerve beats from the drummer on Gul Shah’s Hunchback Henchmen. Meanwhile among Côté’s seemingly random hits and rumbles on In Which Jack’s Cruise is Ended, Shalabi manages to weave dense chording and filigree licks in such a way as to sounds as if several guitarists are present. Most characteristically, each player appears to take off in a different direction on Third Invasion of the Swingsguord until cross-patterning drums, a slurred bass ostinato and distorted guitar licks combine for a sound eruption that makes Pierre Schaeffer’s pioneering Étude aux chemins de fer sound as hushed and primitive as liturgical plain song, while avoiding the blank nihilism of Hard Rock. If Jane and the Magic Bananas can be faulted, it’s that the three players don’t extend the humor implicit in their name and song titles to leaven some of the dense chiaroscuro-colored improvisations here.

… a sound eruption that makes Pierre Schaeffer’s pioneering Étude aux chemins de fer sound as hushed and primitive as liturgical plainsong…

Recensione

Michele Coralli, Altremusiche, 18 mai 2012

Musica sghemba per un trio dinocolato basso/chitarra/batteria, che per un’abbondante mezz’ora divaga senza possibili direzioni all’interno di un mondo sonoro abbastanza chiuso e claustrofobico. I tre negano dinamiche, fraseggi, strutture e disegni ritmico-melodici. C’è un continuo ripiegarsi su se stessi attorno a pseudo-pattern apparentemente casuali, che prendono il volo come un uccello chiuso in una stanza, le cui traiettorie rimbalzano da un punto all’altro senza conclusione. La chitarra di Sam Shalabi, sorda e monocromatica, è forse la maggior responsabile di questo “impaccio” linguistico. Da parte sua anche il basso di Alexandre St-Onge, cupo e azzerato nella determinazione di altezze facilmente identificabili, dà il suo contributo all’ottusità del panorama. Forse è proprio Michel F Côté a dare profondità di campo attraverso un drumming sempre molto ricercato, a-virtuosistico e per questo decisamente puntuale e azzeccato.

Jane and the Magic Bananas è una buona metafora sonora della realtà di oggi, chiusa in se stessa da competenze così straordinarie, da risultare inutili. Certamente competenze che non vengono messe in campo, ma nemmeno evocate. Il groviglio di suoni che conduce direttamente a uno sgabuzzino sembra un nuovo messaggio Fluxus, lanciato per dire a chi può entrare in contatto con questa musica che in certi momenti si può abbandonare tutto, per cercare davvero il senso del perché facciamo arte o del perché non possiamo farne a meno.

Journal d’écoute

François Couture, Monsieur Délire, 16 mars 2012

Sur papier, la tentation est d’approcher Jane and the Magic Bananas comme une variante de Klaxon Gueule. À l’écoute, pourtant, ce n’est pas le cas. On a plutôt l’impression d’un jam band très décloisonnée, free form. Les pièces sont courtes (rien au-delà de cinq minutes et demie) mais relativement indéfinies — on pourrait presque envisager le tout comme une suite. À revisiter.

À revisiter.

Review

Frans De Waard, Vital, no 823, 12 mars 2012

The other release is by at least two musicians by whom we hear more music on the same label: Alexandre St-Onge on bass and electronics and Michel F Cote on amplified drums, along with Sam Shalabi on electric guitar. All three known from their experiment in improvised music, and here they do the same, but with a slight twist. It seems to me they are using the ’no wave/no new york’ format of a slightly more pop-like character, sans any vocals of course. Nervous hectic playing on all three instruments, but occasionally leaping into a bit of a rock mode, all in a very free reign of play. Jazzy also times, but not as much as one could all too easily think. Quite a vibrant and energetic release. Exactly the right Ultra spirit, but then from Montréal.

Quite a vibrant and energetic release.

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