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Joane Hétu Aussi dans la presse

La presse en parle

  • Will Stewart, The Ann Arbor News, 15 octobre 2004
    … “challenging” isn’t a pejorative when it comes to Edgefest — the duo frequently found harmonic plateaus that, while frequently dissonant, had an unmistakable beauty.
  • Cristin Miller, Signal to Noise, no 34, 1 juin 2004
    A drama of highly attuned listening slowly emerged full of simultaneous starts, frequent finishing of each others’ sentences, and sudden collective laughter.
  • François Couture, actuellecd.com, 16 septembre 2003
  • Jennifer Kelly, Splendid E-Zine, 15 juillet 2002
    … they extract an extraordinary array of sounds from themselves and their instruments, and create a landscape of furious, questing, contentious beauty.
  • François Couture, AllMusic, 15 juin 2002
    … Justine pushed further the ideals of challenging, thought-provoking feminist rock…
  • François Couture, AllMusic, 1 juin 2002
    A small but very stubborn woman, she made a career for herself starting out of nowhere at age 19, to become a successful businesswoman and a vocalist with a very distinctive style.

Annual Edgefest Kicks into high Sonic Gear

Will Stewart, The Ann Arbor News, 15 octobre 2004

Avantjazz’s outer edge isn’t only razor sharp; it’s also broad enough to accommodate a range of artists who at once push the envelope of improvisatory music to glorious effect, but also, at times, test the patience of the casual listener’s attention span.[…]

And the fact that some of these performers are pretty far out there only adds merit to their accomplishments. That a vocalist squealing and grunting in French and slapping her torso in time to her accompanist’s caterwauls on various whistles can come across not only as listenable, but enjoyable and oddly soothing, is a tribute not only to the artists’ abilities but to the patience of an open-eared audience.[…]

Derome and Hétu performed for an hour, their unique sound occasionally living up to their performance moniker: "We Pierce the Ears." Oddly, for as challenging as their sound was - and "challenging" isn’t a pejorative when it comes to Edgefest - the duo frequently found harmonic plateaus that, while frequently dissonant, had an unmistakable beauty.[…]

… “challenging” isn’t a pejorative when it comes to Edgefest — the duo frequently found harmonic plateaus that, while frequently dissonant, had an unmistakable beauty.

Review

Cristin Miller, Signal to Noise, no 34, 1 juin 2004

The 19th annual Seattle Improvised Music Festival took place this winter over two week-ends in Febuary. This year brought a turning point for the festival, as the long-term orginizers turned over the reins to musicians newly very active in the scene, all of whom are directly or indirectly affialited with Open Music Workshop. Open Music Workshop (or OMW) is a relatively young entity, less than two years old, but has constitued something like a second wave in the improvised music scene in Seattle. This shift in leadership was reflected in the shape of the festival this year, which cast a wider net and included a broader range of approaches to music making.

The next weekend I also managed to catch Les Poules (Montréal) at Consolodated Works, a large warehouse-like art gallery and performance space. Les Poules have beon playing together for over a decade, and every passing minute of their long history and musical intimacy. Joane Hétu (vocals, alto sax) staked out a minimalist territory of voiceless fricatives and static noises, which she mined over the course of the performance. Diane Labrosse (electronics) explored a similarly focused territory, while Danielle Palardy Roger’s percussion poured out speechlike with orchestraly various gestures accumulating over time into a complex field. A drama of highly attuned listening slowly emerged full of simultaneous starts, frequent finishing of each others’ sentences, and sudden collective laughter. Occasionally, certain silences were allowed to move with grace to the center of the circle.

A drama of highly attuned listening slowly emerged full of simultaneous starts, frequent finishing of each others’ sentences, and sudden collective laughter.

Les Poules et la basse-cour

François Couture, actuellecd.com, 16 septembre 2003

À l’exception de la pop sirupeuse, tous les genres musicaux sont dominés par le mâle. Qu’il grogne dans le micro, gratte sa guitare ou s’époumone au saxo, l’homme s’accapare l’image du musicien, autant dans le rock des multinationales que sur la scène des musiques actuelles. Quand la femme s’aventure dans le domaine, elle est souvent réduite à adopter les formules toutes faites de l’industrie.

C’est pourquoi il est étonnant de trouver au sein du catalogue de DAME autant de femmes à la démarche artistique novatrice. C’est que dès ses premières années, le collectif Ambiances Magnétiques a accueilli trois créatrices dont l’activité musicale, la force organisationnelle et la forte tête ont servi de pôle d’attraction. Je parle bien sûr de Joane Hétu, Diane Labrosse et Danielle Palardy Roger.

Nos trois protagonistes se sont connues au tournant des années 80 dans Wondeur Brass et ont poursuivi leur association dans Les Poules et Justine. Big band anarco-féministe à ses débuts, Wondeur Brass a servi de laboratoire à Joane, Diane et Danielle qui y ont fait leurs premières armes (Joane, autodidacte, y a littéralement appris la musique). Leur mélange de poésie moderne, de free jazz et de rock-in-opposition est déjà au centre du long-jeu Ravir. Du sextet du premier album, on passe au quatuor avec la bassiste Marie Trudeau pour Simoneda, reine des esclaves. Cette formation prend bientôt le nom de Justine pour trois autres disques (La légende de la pluie, créditée au nom de chaque musicienne, peut être abordée comme une collaboration entre Justine, Zeena Parkins et Tenko) au cours desquels le discours féministe est graduellement sublimé et laisse place à une fantaisie croissante qui connaît son apogée sur le phénoménal Langages fantastiques.

Dès la sortie de Langages fantastiques, les trois filles se consacrent à leurs carrières individuelles. Chanteuse et saxophoniste, Joane Hétu insuffle à sa musique un émerveillement langagier et une interprétation mal dégrossie qui se rapproche de l’outsider art. Elle a d’abord mis sur pied son propre groupe, Castor et compagnie (avec Diane Labrosse, Jean Derome et Pierre Tanguay), qui a commis deux albums de chansons sensuelles et tordues en filiation directe avec Justine. Par la suite elle s’est tournée vers l’improvisation, d’abord avec son compagnon Jean Derome dans le duo Nous perçons les oreilles, puis en solo avec Seule dans les chants, d’une intimité intense. Elle a récemment prouvé ses talents dans la composition à grand déploiement avec le magistral Musique d’hiver.

Vers la fin de Justine, Diane Labrosse a délaissé le clavier pour lui préférer l’échantillonneur. Après un album solo, Face cachée des choses, un disque en duo avec le percussioniste Michel F Côté (Duo déconstructiviste) et une participation à son groupe Bruire (sur Les Fleurs de Léo), elle a tâté de la composition pour ensemble d’improvisateurs (Petit traité de sagesse pratique) avant de se consacrer corps et âme à l’improvisation. Parasites, avec Martin Tétreault, et Télépathie, en compagnie d’Aimé Dontigny, démontrent qu’il est possible de manier l’échantillonneur avec grâce et sensibilité.

Depuis la dissolution de Justine, la discographie de Danielle Palardy Roger progresse à petits pas (c’est qu’elle est très occupée par la direction des Productions SuperMusique). Son conte pour enfants L’oreille enflée (avec les voix et les instruments de Derome, Hétu et André Duchesne, entre autres) s’adresse au jeune public avec une rare intelligence. Et Tricotage, sa rencontre improvisée avec la contrebassiste française Joëlle Léandre, documente la finesse de son jeu de batterie.

En 1986, Joane, Diane et Danielle avaient pris un congé de Wondeur Brass pour explorer les limites de la chanson pop sous le nom Les Poules (Contes de l’amère loi, fraîchement réédité). Dernièrement, elles ont repris le collier du trio, poussant cette fois dans l’improvisation riche en textures subtiles, qui marie bruitisme, écoute et lyrisme. Prairie orange marque ce retour attendu à un travail collectif.

La présence de ces trois créatrices au sein d’Ambiances Magnétiques a attiré l’attention de quelques artistes aux intérêts similaires. Première autre femme à joindre l’écurie, Geneviève Letarte a produit deux superbes albums de chansons poétiques (Vous seriez un ange et Chansons d’un jour). Dernièrement, le catalogue de DAME a accueilli la performeuse Nathalie Derome, la guitariste Sylvie Chenard, la pianiste Pui Ming Lee, ainsi que Lori Freedman et Marilyn Lerner du duo Queen Mab, qui nous ont chacune donné un album solo (respectivement: À un moment donné et Luminance).

La musique actuelle, un monde de gars? Suivez ces quelques pistes, vous verrez bien.

Review

Jennifer Kelly, Splendid E-Zine, 15 juillet 2002

Listening to this record of free improvisational piano is a little like watching a group of bored children on a swing set. They’ll spend a few minutes actually swinging, then the ringleader ventures to hang by his knees from the top. A few minutes later, they’re walking a hazardous tightrope across the top of the swing set, then building a fort underneath. If you leave them alone for the time it takes to drink a single cup of coffee, you will return to find them gathering firewood in preparation for burning the whole thing down.

Like these kids, Lee Pui Ming applies her restless intelligence to devising ways of playing that the piano wasn’t designed for and probably wouldn’t survive on an extended basis. She plays, she bangs on the lid, she lifts the cover and runs her car keys (or something) along the exposed strings, she keeps the pedal down for most of a 10-minute track… and that’s just the piano parts. Lee and her partner Joane Hétu also use their bodies as instruments, breathing, speaking, moaning, slapping and thumping. In the process, they extract an extraordinary array of sounds from themselves and their instruments, and create a landscape of furious, questing, contentious beauty.

Who’s Playing starts with Greetings, a half-minute interlude of slaps and moans and sing-song spoken word. Then we move to the demented, freeze-frame cakewalk of Steps, a prickly jazz improvisation that sounds more like music you’ve heard before than anything else on the album. Silica, the third track, finds us opening up the piano cover and discovering a slithery, metallic menu of sounds inside. Bones returns to the piano as it’s usually played, with a tentatively played conversation between high notes and low, but then Lee leaves the keys behind and drums insistently on the cover for Sinews. The thwacks and thumps continue in the dance rehearsal rhythms of Torso, and, in hearing it, I first began to think it would be more fun to watch Lee play than to listen to her. Belly of the Beast, the album’s best track, layers piano sounds by holding the pedal down. You hear a swirling cigarette smoke miasma — not just the note that’s being played, but the ones before it and the ones that weren’t played but have somehow been picked out of the ether. What follows, Uvula, is certainly the album’s oddest cut — a rhythmic blend of slaps and deep, fractured breathing, moans and tonally diverse nonsense syllables. I’m tempted to be flip and say that it sounds like two asthmatics having sex, but there is such a variety and multilayered texture of sounds that I can’t dismiss it so readily.

The title of Who’s Playing comes from a short, unattributed poem in the liner notes, which asks “When one is completely present in the moment — / Playing, or listening / — Who, then, / in that moment, / is playing / and who / is listening?” I can’t recommend playing like Lee does — it sounds like it might be painful — but if you like to push the boundaries of what music is, then you should definitely try listening.

… they extract an extraordinary array of sounds from themselves and their instruments, and create a landscape of furious, questing, contentious beauty.

Portrait: Justine

François Couture, AllMusic, 15 juin 2002

Born out of the Montréal-based avant-rock group Wondeur Brass, Justine pushed further the ideals of challenging, thought-provoking feminist rock established in its previous incarnation for another ten years. The group released three albums during the 1990s and toured Canada, the United States,and visited Europe twice. Three of its musicians are members of the collective Ambiances Magnétiques, so the label released all their albums.

Wondeur Brass started as a sextet in the early ’80s. By 1987 the group had been scaled down to a quartet. Bassist Marie Trudeau had joined the three original members saxophonist Joane Hétu, keyboardist Diane Labrosse and drummer Danielle Palardy Roger. That line-up released Simoneda, reine des esclaves in 1987.

Upon starting work on a new opus in 1989, the girls decided it was time for a change. The new music taking shape was turning out to be more complex, intricate, and driven by a stronger will to improvise and make things interestingly dangerous. Thus Justine was born. The first album under the new name, (Suite), came out in 1990. It included guest appearances by Japanese singer Tenko and American harpist Zeena Parkins. In 1992, Hétu, Labrosse and Roger brought them back for a quintet project, La légende de la pluie. Although it doesn’t include Trudeau and sounds softer, more introspective, it can be considered as the second album by Justine. Around the same time the “real” quartet appeared on stage in an Ambiances Magnétiques showcase which yielded the live CD Une théorie des ensembles.

In early 1994 Justine toured Europe, visiting many former communist countries. Back in Montréal in June they recorded Langages Fantastiques “live in the studio” — the recording of (Suite) had stretched over ten months. After its release later that year things slowed down as group members focused on individual projects: Roger on the children tale L’oreille enflée, Labrosse on a solo album (La face cachée des choses) and a duo with Michel F Côté, Hétu on a new group called Castor et Compagnie. Justine stayed together for another three years and performed at the 1997 Ring Ring festival in Belgrade (Yugoslavia) alongside Ground-Zero, Palinckx, and Kampec Dolores (a previously unreleased song was included on the commemorative compilation Ring Ring 1997). After that tour the group disbanded. Hétu, Labrosse and Roger have continued to contribute to one another’s projects.

… Justine pushed further the ideals of challenging, thought-provoking feminist rock…

Portrait: Joane Hétu

François Couture, AllMusic, 1 juin 2002

Saxophonist, singer, improviser, composer, and record label manager Joane Hétu ranks among the pillars of the Montréal avant-garde music scene revolving around the collective Ambiances Magnétiques. A small but very stubborn woman, she made a career for herself starting out of nowhere at age 19, to become a successful businesswoman and a vocalist with a very distinctive style. She has recorded many albums with the groups Wondeur Brass, Justine, Les Poules, Castor et Compagnie, with her husband Jean Derome and solo.

A Montréaler born and raised, Hétu turned to music in 1977, at age 19 when she started to learn the alto saxophone by herself, with no notions of music theory. Two years later she briefly fell in love with pianist Pierre St-Jak who introduced her to an eccentric bunch of artists tied to the Pouet Pouet Band and L’Enfant Fort (which years later would evolve into the Fanfare Pourpour). These experimentalists confirmed her musical vision. With keyboardist Diane Labrosse and drummer Danielle Palardy Roger she formed the feminist avant-rock group Wondeur Brass, learning the basics of music during rehearsals. In 1985 the three members were asked to join the collective Ambiances Magnétiques, recently established by Robert Marcel Lepage, René Lussier, André Duchesne, and Jean Derome (the latter would become her life and major musical partner). Wondeur Brass released two critically acclaimed albums in the mid-’80s (Ravir and Simoneda, Reine des Esclaves). Hétu, Labrosse and Roger played in two similar projects, Les Poules and Justine, and toured North-America and Europe.

In 1991, at a time when the volunteer structure of the collective was becoming a burden on the shoulders of its members, Hétu created DAME (Distribution Ambiances Magnétiques Etcetera), a record label/distribution outlet with the aim to regroup local independent avant-garde labels under one roof. Her dedication to the company convinced federal and provincial governments to start subsidizing avant-garde music a little more and the Ambiances Magnétiques catalog began to grow steadily. Meanwhile, she formed her own group Castor et Compagnie in 1992 for which she wrote a repertoire of twisted erotic songs, and performed with many of the other AM members’ projects. In the late 1990s her impetus shifted from avant-gardist songwriting to improvised music with Nous perçons les oreilles (with Derome) and her solo album Seule dans les chants. The beautiful Musique d’hiver showcased her talents as a composer.

A small but very stubborn woman, she made a career for herself starting out of nowhere at age 19, to become a successful businesswoman and a vocalist with a very distinctive style.

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