Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 1338, 31 mai 2022
lundi 6 juin 2022 Presse

Quartetski was formed in 2007 by Pierre-Yves Martel “as a vehicle to rethink and reinterpret the works of great composers through the lens of creative improvised music”. So far, Martel and his companions realized projects focused on the works by Prokofiev (2007), Stravinsky (2013) and Bartók (2016). Choosing Cage for their new project, the decision for a very different kind of a composer compared to the three predecessors. They chose two compositions belonging to a body of about forty works called Number Pieces composed by Cage in his last years. Each work is titled after the number of performers that are involved. One7 is the seventh work for one performer, Four6 is the sixth work for four performers, etc. Both are not written for specific instrumentation and are dedicated to composer and accordionist Pauline Oliveros, a.o. I don’t know any other recordings of these works and can’t make any comparison. But the fact that they perform One7 as a quartet may be one of more decisions that make their approach different from others. Anyway, we have Isaiah Ceccarelli (percussion, synthesizer), Philippe Lauzier (bass clarinet, synthesizer); Pierre-Yves Martel (electric bass, sine waves) and Bernard Falaise (electric guitar) at work here in an intriguing rendition of both pieces. They play a limited set of patterns interspersed with pauses of different lengths, which evokes the impression of a random-like sequence. Pointillistic, non-intentional dots of sound pass by, but it is evident that something is at work in these works that gives them a fascinating (dis)continuity. The movements are fragile and delicate, always very modest. The performers’ sounds, timbres, and colours are well-chosen and make a beautiful spectrum.

The performers’ sounds, timbres, and colours are well-chosen and make a beautiful spectrum.


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 1335, 21 mai 2022
vendredi 3 juin 2022 Presse

Émilie Girard-Charest is a rising star from the Montréal-scene. So far, this Canadian cellist, composer and improviser is most known for her work as a performer, being a member of various ensembles, and being involved in the premiere of many new compositions from diverse composers. Her compositions have been performed by ensembles like Zukan trio, Thin Edge New Music Collective, SuperMusique, a.o. Also she has several albums out. All of them are collaborations with artists like Violeta Garcia ( Impermanence ), Sergio Castrillón ( Enthousiasme viscéral ), a.o. Intimités is the first album with compositions solely by Émilie Girard-Charest. Four works are presented here: Asyndètes (2017), Épanchements (2014), Heurts (2019) and Intimités (2018). Asyndètes (2017), is written for a quartet, performed here by violinists Lyne Allard, Geneviève Liboiron and Jean René, plus

Girard-Charest herself on cello. An interaction of short attacks and movements with changing dynamics gives a constant suggestion of discontinuity. Épanchements (2014) is written for a trio lineup. Again we hear Liboiron and Girard-Charest joined by pianist Daniel Anez. Often the music is close to silence here, interrupted by high-pitched and long-stretched noisy sounds. Heurts is a work of more joyful and playful movements for violin and cello accompanied by piano (Daniel Anez) and percussion (Noam Bierstone). Intimités (2018) is written for an ensemble performed here by the Montréal chamber ensemble Novarumori. This microtonal work has penetrating dissonant passages resulting from slow evolving movements. Her strings-dominated works are accessible and stripped down in a way. Girard-Charest seems to work from a limited set of ideas and with a clear focus. On the other hand, the works aren’t accessible at all and need careful attention before they reveal why they are there. Interesting work!

Girard-Charest seems to work from a limited set of ideas and with a clear focus. […] Interesting work!


Lawrence Joseph, Musicworks, no 140, 1 décembre 2021
vendredi 3 juin 2022 Presse

Montréal’s Ratchet Orchestra, Vancouver’s New Orchestra Workshop, and Toronto’s Association of Improvising Musicians are evidence that Canada’s largest cities have robust improvisation scenes whose participants occasionally coalesce to play works composed for larger ensembles. It is perhaps even more impressive when smaller communities pull off similar feats. Rimouski, a town with a population of 50,000, located 315 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, has Le Grand Groupe Régional d’Improvisation Libérée (GGRIL), led by bassist Éric Normand. Covering music created from 2013 to 2021, this sprawling three-CD set is a retrospective of Le GGRIL’s collaborations with twelve renowned composer-improvisers from Canada, the U.K., and France. Compared to the aforementioned ensembles, Le GGRIL tends to place less emphasis on individual virtuosity and detailed notated scores, and more on group direction and interaction. The works here display the orchestra’s flexibility in adapting to a variety of improvisational approaches.

Each CD is centred on a different theme, the first being “long and intense pieces.” Frédéric Blondy contributes the minimalistic drone of Îlots Turgescents, consisting of slowly shifting textures that build to a dense climax near the twenty-minute mark, followed by a few minutes of sparser rattles and clatters. Robert Marcel Lepage’s Alice has the orchestra trading rapid-fire short bursts of sound reminiscent of the musique actuelle genre that the composer helped originate in the 1980s. Lisa Cay Miller’s To Love That Well–Ruined Choirs is more orchestral, with small fragments of melody weaving around bubbling bass rumbles. The second CD is meditative, typified by the brief sound gestures that combine to realize Malcolm Goldstein’s Rivers and Mountains Remain, the atmosphere evoking the peaceful nature surrounding the group’s hometown. Allison Cameron’s In Memorium (Robert Ashley) is appropriately contemplative and respectful, while Martin Arnold’s Éistphéist spotlights the extended string techniques of the Bozzini Quartet. The third CD focuses on the power that a group of twenty-one improvisers can conjure, although there are moments of tranquility interspersed between the orchestral summits. Sprinkled amongst the longer improvisations on each CD is a series of short solos excerpted from Alice. Comparing these with the full version and contrasting the two takes of Caroline Kraabel’s Une note n’écoutant qu’elle même, demonstrates how different two improvisations of the same work can be.

The above outlines do not convey the improvisational details contained within each of the seventeen tracks, where much of the interest lies. Perhaps this collection will inspire other towns to form their own collectives, especially since this music must have been at least as satisfying to perform as it is to listen to.


Ken Waxman, Musicworks, no 141, 1 mars 2022
vendredi 3 juin 2022 Presse

A notable blend of noise and nuance, this Québécois quartet soars through seven live improvisations without ever fraying the sonic thread that holds them together. Veterans in this context, René Lussier (guitar and daxophone) and Robbie Kuster (drums) add just enough squeezed-string elaborations or percussion backbeat to project their identities, while electronic impulses from Érick d’Orion’s computer and rumbles from Martin Tétreault’s turntable produce a sustainable drone. This waveform continuum is perforated often enough that surprise textures from vinyl-sampled vocal mumbles and gurgles, synthesized outer-space-like crackles and horse whinnies, or acoustic string flanges and relentless backbeats are clearly heard.

The adjoining tracks Celle qui suit l’autre and L’avant dernière give Lussier space to demonstrate guitar prowess as he moves through folksy runs, bottleneck Blues, cranked up arena-Rock resonations, and microtonal string plinks. At one point, an unexpected interlude of live sampled guitar accompaniment is heard over Kuster’s rugged backing and consistent buzzes. The computer’s backwards-running flanges reach a crescendo on L’autre, joined by singular drum smacks, metallic turntable platter screeches, guitar string slaps, and processed inhuman cries as the exposition is fragmented into a mid-point climax. Reconstituted on subsequent tracks, the performance concludes with Pis la dernière as emphatic drones are succeeded by muffled vocal samples, isolated guitar plinks, and a final descending electronic buzz. As engaging throughout as it is logically concluded, this session personifies the imagination and delicacy needed to maintain an hour-long electroacoustic parity.