Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, 23 novembre 2021
lundi 3 janvier 2022 Presse

Every now and then it’s OK to reiterate a well-worn refrain, at the risk of sounding boorish. Low-quality music can make you sick, especially when improvisation is in the picture. Hiding behind an often unjustifiable freedom of artistic expression, a lot of people, unable to behave inside the sound beyond mere technical skills, can’t stop releasing useless stuff that weighs down a reviewer’s mailbox. Things get worse when the flag-bearers of fraudulent creativity gather in collectives. Disorganized chaos and compositional shallowness melt into arrogance, causing the auditory system to go on strike. Not to mention the irritation for having wasted our dwindling time.

But Quebec’s Le GGRIL (Grand groupe régional d’improvisation libérée), founded 14 years ago by Tour De Bras honcho Éric Normand, are different. They engage the audience, yet don’t steal their oxygen; entice the ear subtly, never crassly; spur one’s curiosity without self-aggrandizement. Above all, they show respect for stillness and silence. Much of the sounds in Sommes seems to arise from there, willingly returning to that origin even during livelier sections. This is a commendable attitude by the group. Talent is important, but knowing how to listen before filling the room with pitches is essential. In short, if these musicians demand your attention, they do so with good reason and sensitive restraint.

The substance of this triple CD — don’t be frightened, it’s the blink of an eye — comprises outstanding renditions of scores crafted for Le GGRIL by renowned composers, with noticeable open spaces for clever liberality. Plus, a handful of minutes reserved for individual interpretations of a piece by Robert Lepage named Chat de Cheshire. Quite frequently the brain gets wired to spiritual dimensions of in-depth interplay; check Îlots turgescents to see what this writer means. Talking in “scattered examples” mode, unintentional references emerge to “calm” orchestral Zappa circa The Yellow Shark, principally throughout Allison Cameron’s In Memoriam Robert Ashley. Or — rather inevitably, given the provenance of most members — to pages from the long and varied book of René Lussier and his associates, some of whom actively contributed to this project.

But those are fleeting mnemonic crumbles, in the midst of mutable scenarios from which a substantial acoustic homogeneity materializes. Magnificent resonant combinations; tones that clash in adjacency, or greet each other from opposite poles; mischievous melodic smithereens; serendipitous evocations of ancient cultures. With a pinch of unofficial theatricality when necessary, and several surprises waiting for the unsuspecting listener around the corner. An anarchically cohesive chamber orchestra with plenty of resources, unfazed by the difficulties of a performance, endowed in equal measure with technique, irony and soul. It will keep your body warm and your mind beguiled for many hours, through many days.

It will keep your body warm and your mind beguiled for many hours, through many days.

2021 — Best Albums of the Year

Michele Palozzo, Esoteros, 17 décembre 2021
jeudi 23 décembre 2021 Presse

Un ideale excursus nelle indagini microtonali e “concrete” del decano della sperimentazione sonora, qui applicate a un ensemble di soli strumenti ad arco: intuizioni tanto essenziali quanto pregnanti, rivolte all’ascolto profondo di una vasta e inesplorata fenomenologia sonora.

Un excursus idéal dans les recherches microtonales et concrètes du doyen de l’expérimentation sonore…


Frank P Eckert, Groove, 8 décembre 2021
jeudi 16 décembre 2021 Presse

Die Kollaboration der beiden frankokanadischen Gitarristen Simon Trottier und François Zaïdan kann ebenfalls auf eine lange Reifezeit zurückblicken. Das erste Produkt der Zusammenarbeit, Quattuor Tempora (Mikroclimat/DAME) wirkt gleichermaßen souverän wie diskret. Eine Übung in feingeistiger Zurückhaltung bei maximaler Übersicht und Übersichtlichkeit. Kein Ton zu viel, und doch wirkt das Album nicht minimalistisch oder reduziert, kein Ton zu wenig, und dennoch ist es weit von den Post-Rock — und Prog-Pop-Projekten entfernt, in denen die beiden sonst spielen — das gilt schon allein instrumentell, denn die Gitarre spielt hier kaum eine Rolle.

Un exercice de retenue raffinée avec une vue d’ensemble et une clarté maximale.

Quattuor Tempora, Simon Trottier & François Zaïdan

Philippe Renaud, Le Devoir, 27 novembre 2021
samedi 27 novembre 2021 Presse

Membre des formations Last Ex et Ferriswheel, le compositeur et guitariste Simon Trottier a trouvé chez François Zaïdan, compositeur et membre de l’orchestre de Klô Pelgag, le partenaire idéal pour échanger, à distance, sur le thème des quatre saisons. Le résultat, foisonnant, emprunte aux musiques électroacoustique et ambient la manière de construire de petits mondes sonores qui, mis bout à bout, constituent 30 enchanteresses minutes. Expérimental, certes, mais tout sauf hermétique: à l’aide de synthétiseurs modulaires et de manipulations de bandes magnétiques, et avec les voix des amies N NAO (sur Magnétique nord en début d’album) et Klô Pelgag (instantanément reconnaissable sur Hiems en clôture), le duo imagine quatre saisons dans l’harmonie et la contemplation, même dans les rares passages plus arides, comme la première moitié d’Automne. Quattuor Tempora est comme du cinéma pour les tympans, surprenant et stimulant.

… 30 enchanteresses minutes. […] du cinéma pour les tympans, surprenant et stimulant.