Joane Hétu

… but already shows pretty well what potential still lies dormant in the free part of jazz and related experimental genres. Groove, Allemagne

On Tags, we find several compositions she created over the past years… Vital, Pays-Bas

La majorité de mes compositions ont été destinées à des ensembles dont je faisais partie de façon permanente (Ensemble SuperMusique, Castor et compagnie, Nous perçons les oreilles, etc.). J’ai toutefois plusieurs pièces orphelines, comme je les appelle, qui, au fil du temps, se sont retrouvées sans publication. Avec cet album, je rassemble 4 de ces pièces orphelines afin de leur donner une seconde vie. Nos compositions, après tout, méritent qu’on en prenne soin.


CD (AM 268)

  • Étiquette: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 268 / 2021
  • UCC 771028126828
  • Durée totale: 52:22
  • Boîtier sympathique
  • 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
  • 40 g

Sur le web

Téléchargement (AM 268_NUM)


  • Entretien: Joane Hétu; vidéo: Maxime Corbeil-Perron; En français; Sous-titré en français; janvier 2022

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Frank P Eckert, Groove, 16 mars 2022

Joane Hétu ist seit den Achtzigern in zahlreichen, immer wechselnden Bands und Ensembles der Post-Rock — und Jazz-Szene Montréals aktiv. Vor allem in der Rolle einer Vermittlerin zwischen experimentellen Musiker·innen, die eben nicht nur, nicht pur Jazz oder Prog oder kaustische Elektroakustik machen wollen. Tags (Ambiances Magnétiques), eine Zusammenstellung von Solostücken oder „Waisenkindern”, wie sie es nennt, ist damit eine eher untypische Ausnahme im Repertoire, zeigt aber schon ziemlich gut, was noch so an Potenzial im freien Teil von Jazz und verwandten experimentellen Genres schlummert.

… but already shows pretty well what potential still lies dormant in the free part of jazz and related experimental genres.


Robert Steinberger, Vital, no 1326, 8 mars 2022

Joane Hétu has a long history in music, starting as a saxophone player involved in Canadian avant-garde bands like Wondeur Brass, but then turning to more ’serious’ work more akin to contemporary classical formats, but also getting into ballet music, performances, and video. She also has a business side, being on the board of the label Ambiences Magnetiques, the production company Productions SuperMusique, and the DAME record label. She has also combined vocal improvised and improvised ensemble work, something I have never quite got to grips with.

On Tags, we find several compositions she created over the past years, 2000 to 2019, to be more precise. Ne t’estompe pas en moi is a duo between bass clarinette and double bass. It has a jazz feel to it, but also one of improvisation and some nice bits where the two instruments cease to weave around each other but begin to play with the same little melody before going off on a tangent again. In Tags, Hétu plays the saxophone again, together with Jean Derome (their duo CD was reviewed here a while ago), backed up by Quatuor Bozzini (string quartet) and Quasar (a saxophone quartet). So there, racket guaranteed? That’s not what you get, though. The groups of instruments play intermittently, or the sounds get overlaid. It all sounds chaotic, somewhere between improvised music (which must not necessarily be jazz) and contemporary classic. I found a little bit of voice improv unnecessary (as I said, I am not a fan of), but it remains a bit isolated somewhere in the second half. The other two pieces, Les dentellières (Lace Makers) and Préoccupant, c’est préoccupant: Les états (’The conditions’ — or ’States’), are more ’orchestral’ in a sense. They build a more complex sound spectrum that could be tagged more industrial at times. The first might remind me of Glenn Branca, as it uses 20 guitars. Ensemble SuperMusique performs the second based on a graphical score by Hétu (a member of the Ensemble herself), a ’catalogue’ of sound bits/musical fragments to use. Sounds very intellectual. Whilst Les dentellières conjures up the picture of guitar strings making up the fabric of the lace (hm … ), the piece starts with single guitar notes that build into a continuous… not exactly ’drone’, but something akin, with less discreet notes to be heard. It manages to hold the tension without venturing out into any Branca-like overdrive. Préoccupant, c’est préoccupant: Les états plays between quiet, drawn bits and parts that remind more of Zeitkratzer playing Merzbow. Only towards the second half the music becomes denser and more of an ensemble piece that is more than pieced-together sounds. As always, I believe this kind of ’free’ music that relies significantly on the input of the musician’s onset is better viewed live. As a recording, it does lose some of the impact.

On Tags, we find several compositions she created over the past years…


Brad Rose, Foxy Digitalis, 11 février 2022

What a magnificent album from a label (Ambiances Magnétiques) that very much has my attention. Joane Hétu is a composer, saxophonist, and vocalist and her work is always inventive and sonically captivating. Tags collects four ‘orphans’ — pieces that didn’t have a home elsewhere — and shows everything that makes Hétu great. Lithe woodwinds dance across simmering floors while voices shoot upward like ancient machines hidden underground come to life. Beautiful guitar tones gloss through blank corridors, flitting between resonant drones and rippling splurges, interconnected with an underlying sigh of relief. It’s amazing that these four pieces weren’t written with each other in mind because Tags works as a wonderfully cohesive album. Recommended.

Quel magnifique album d’un label qui retient toute mon attention.