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Review

Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, 7 juin 2021
jeudi 10 juin 2021 Presse

Adding to its stellar reputation for commissioning and performing experimental notated works, Montréal’s Quatuor Bozzini (QB) interprets five compositions by American composer Alvin Lucier on Navigations. Barbed, dissonant and compelling at the same time, these variants on works by the 90-year-old sound explorer have as much in common with traditional string quartet repertoire as Cecil Taylor has with Lang Lang. Formed in 1999, QB’s members — violinists Alissa Cheung and Clemens Merkel, violist Stéphanie Bozzini and cellist Isabelle Bozzini — have fused into a single unit of multiple moving parts. There are no soloists per se, and faithful to Lucier’s vision the timbres often resemble those from a percussion ensemble rather than a string quartet.

This is especially true on Group Tapper where the resonations appear to be created from combining smacks from the bows’ frogs, col legno string slaps and raps on the instruments’ wood to create call-and-response. As hammering moves from one to all players, tempos accelerate, first to presto and vivace, then to metallic sounding prestissimo until the soundfield is crammed with percussive ruffs. While other tracks are devoted to more conventional string strategies, the jagged and near impenetrable tones remain, encompassing hints of detuned scordatura. Detours into wispy and near-vocalized expositions are there, although the concluding Navigations for Strings offers the most bellicose challenges. As the players’ parts combine with layered and thickened tones a horizontal, undulating theme is revealed that becomes a near static, almost unbreakable drone. The climax and respite arrives when the unison strained buzz gives way to single string vibrations.

Formerly QB has created exemplified programs of composition by Ana Sokolović and Phil Niblock among others. Navigations is another defining work.

Navigations is another defining work.

Critique

Luc Marchessault, PAN M 360, 15 mai 2021
mercredi 19 mai 2021 Presse

Un jeune compositeur-improvisateur montréalais trace patiemment sa trajectoire électroacoustique, du cégep de Saint-Laurent au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, du festival des musiques numériques immersives Akousma à la très courue galerie d’art Greenhouse de Berlin, du festival de musiques improvisées Oooh de Londres au festival Impro Währing de Vienne. Il s’appelle Dominic Jasmin. Son champ d’expérimentation est vaste. Son mode opératoire est à la fois simple et complexe: créer des sons ou repérer du déjà-créé, façonner cette matière — s’il y a lieu —, puis la conjuguer à la composition spontanée. Dans son studio-labo, il combine des sons produits par des objets, leur fait subir un traitement logiciel, puis y juxtapose des sons de synthés et d’instruments acoustiques. La musique qui en résulte constitue, selon les mots de Dominic, du «bruit avec une forme» ou de «l’expressionnisme-maximaliste».

Dominic vient de faire paraître Synergie et parasitisme, un album comprenant quatre longues pièces. L’étiquette Mikroclimat, dirigée par les musiciens et compositeurs Joane Hétu et Maxime Corbeil-Perron, lui sert de rampe de lancement. Dominic Jasmin s’est servi, comme canevas, d’enregistrements provenant des collections d’amis-artistes berlinois. Il a remixé et fusionné tout ça, puis y a appliqué une couche d’improvisation synthétique et divers instruments acoustiques. Ainsi, on entend le violon de Jeanne Côté sur Ça va bien, la première pièce. La guitare de Pietro Frigato résonne sur Il sole, la pietra e l’ombra (Le soleil, la pierre et l’ombre). Sur Dieselfahrradparade (Parade de vélos au diesel?) figurent la clarinette et le saxo d’Edith Steyer. Enfin, Psicosis telepática comporte la voix de Lorena Izquierdo Aparicio et la batterie de Samuel Hall (à ne pas confondre avec le protagoniste misanthrope de la chanson de Bashung), ainsi que les ajouts électroniques d’Eric Bauer.

Corneille (le dramaturge, pas le chanteur) a écrit «À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire». Les musicophiles gagnent à écouter Synergie et parasitisme.

Les musicophiles gagnent à écouter Synergie et parasitisme.

Review

Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, 6 mai 2021
lundi 17 mai 2021 Presse

While this session may at first appear to be a traditional guitar (Bernard Falaise), electric bass (Alexandre St-Onge) and drums (Michel F Côté) creation by Montréal’s Klaxon Gueule, the addition of synthesizers and a computer means it relates as much to metaphysics as to music. That’s because programming alters the sound of each instrument, blending timbres into a pointillist creation that brings in palimpsest inferences along with forefront textures.

A track such as Continuum indifférencié for instance, features a programmed continuum with concentrated buzzing that moves the solid exposition forward as singular string slides, piano clicks and drum ruffs are interjected throughout. In contrast, la mort comme victoire malgré nous finds voltage impulses resembling a harmonized string section moving slowly across the sound field as video-game-like noise scraping and ping-ponging electron ratchets gradually force the exposition to more elevated pitches. Although aggregate tremolo reverb frequently makes ascribing (m)any textures to individual instruments futile, enough timbral invention remains to negate any thoughts of musical AI. Singular guitar plucks peer from among near-opaque organ-like washes on Société Perpendiculaire and a faux-C&W guitar twang pushes against hard drum backbeats on toute la glu.

During the CD’s dozen selections, the trio members repeatedly prove that their mixture of voltage oscillations and instrumental techniques can create a unique sonic landscape that is as entrancing as it is expressive.

During the CD’s dozen selections, the trio members repeatedly prove that their mixture of voltage oscillations and instrumental techniques can create a unique sonic landscape that is as entrancing as it is expressive.

Review

Ken Waxman, The WholeNote, 6 mai 2021
vendredi 14 mai 2021 Presse

While this session may at first appear to be a traditional guitar (Bernard Falaise), electric bass (Alexandre St-Onge) and drums (Michel F Côté) creation by Montréal’s Klaxon Gueule, the addition of synthesizers and a computer means it relates as much to metaphysics as to music. That’s because programming alters the sound of each instrument, blending timbres into a pointillist creation that brings in palimpsest inferences along with forefront textures.

A track such as Continuum indifférencié for instance, features a programmed continuum with concentrated buzzing that moves the solid exposition forward as singular string slides, piano clicks and drum ruffs are interjected throughout. In contrast, la mort comme victoire malgré nous finds voltage impulses resembling a harmonized string section moving slowly across the sound field as video-game-like noise scraping and ping-ponging electron ratchets gradually force the exposition to more elevated pitches. Although aggregate tremolo reverb frequently makes ascribing (m)any textures to individual instruments futile, enough timbral invention remains to negate any thoughts of musical AI. Singular guitar plucks peer from among near-opaque organ-like washes on Société Perpendiculaire and a faux-C&W guitar twang pushes against hard drum backbeats on toute la glu.

During the CD’s dozen selections, the trio members repeatedly prove that their mixture of voltage oscillations and instrumental techniques can create a unique sonic landscape that is as entrancing as it is expressive.

During the CD’s dozen selections, the trio members repeatedly prove that their mixture of voltage oscillations and instrumental techniques can create a unique sonic landscape that is as entrancing as it is expressive.

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, 13 avril 2021
lundi 19 avril 2021 Presse

The work of Christof Migone has found its way to these pages quite a lot over a very long period and in almost all of them, there is a conceptual edge. There is also a whole body of work that didn’t make it to these pages, such as a series of seven 7inch records that he released between 2015 and 2019. This double CD contains a selection of those records, twenty-two tracks in total, out of thirty-five to be found on the original records. A quick look at the times for some of these pieces, going way over eight minutes, which is what normally fits on a 7” record, struck me as rather odd. These pieces, eleven in total, are re-edited for this compilation. On the website of Squint Press (Migone’s label), you can find a description for this project: “Normally, a record release celebrates the culmination of a recording project. Like a book launch, it marks the moment where a work leaves the artist’s hands and seeks an audience. Record Release is a project that reverses that process and includes the act of releasing as part of the recording process itself. Record Release involves using the raw material used to manufacture vinyl records which comes in small pellets. These lentil-sized bits of petroleum product come in this form because they are easily transportable and manipulable before they get melted and stamped with grooves of sound. This is a sound project which focuses on one of the standard physical support materials of sound and utilizes these tiny units of potential sound in a gestural manner to produce not only audio material but also images, video content and a slew of data related to the process of dissemination involved.” The blank record becomes the sound material and looking for a description of each of the seven records, you can read and see how it all worked; Migone’s website is pretty extensive in that respect. And two CDs filled with music to the maximum length is also something extensive. Migone works a lot with loops and repetitions of his sound material, which aren’t always to trace; at least, not from just playing them. His take on the whole notion of improvisation, musique concrète and electro-acoustics. While I found some of these pieces very good, or perhaps, the majority of them, I must admit that at one point I was pretty loaded with this kind of sonic information, with pieces becoming a blur; shorter pieces or one CD would have been sufficient for me, no matter how much I enjoy the music.

… I found some of these pieces very good, or perhaps, the majority of them…

Review

Nick Roseblade, Vital, 6 avril 2021
mercredi 7 avril 2021 Presse

There is something glorious about Pal o’Alto. What I can’t work out is what it is. The album possesses that rare quality of featuring five players at the top of their game. This gives the album a feeling that is seldom felt and even harder to explain. Bob Dylan used to claim that his best music has “That thin, wild mercury sound” to it. It is unquantifiable, but when you hear a particular song you know whether it’s there or not. While Pal o’Alto sounds nothing like Dylan, or his “thin, wild mercury sound”, something is exciting about these four songs.

Each track is named after the players Thomson worked with. The most satisfying tracks are the ones where the styles gel and we are given a cohesive sound. Of course, this happens in all tracks, as does the opposite, but it is during Karen Ng where everything just clicks. Opening with shrill blasts and guttural rumbles Karen Ng meanders along. It doesn’t rush to get going because it has nowhere to do. It feels like the musical version of going out for a stroll in the afternoon, with no fixed destination. Just following your feet, and the pavement, and seeing where you end up. I listened to Karen Ng while I meandered back from the shops, taking an unexpected detour via the park and some back streets. As I leisurely made my way home Ng and Thomson traded lugubrious and curving blasts. There was a part around the halfway mark when Ng delivered a deep, long bass note. Over this Thomson was playing a lyrical motif. It really struck a chord and made my walk home in the bright, and oddly warm, spring afternoon incredible pleasurable.

At its heart Pal o’Alto is a tribute to Lee Konitz, who died in 2020 during the pandemic, but at the same time, it isn’t. Throughout you can feel Konitz’ presence but the songs aren’t inspired by him. They are in fact five friends playing together out of the love of playing. The music here has no real agenda, other than it was what was played that day. And this is what you get. Four performances were captured live by friends and lovers of music. This comes across in all the tracks and makes it hard to switch off after you’ve pressed play. So why don’t you sit back and get comfortable for 45-minutes and enjoy music made for the love of playing?

There is something glorious about Pal o’Alto.