actuellecd

Review

Matthew Martens, New Island Voice, 1 avril 1999

For some years now Québec has been host to a thriving, all but indefinable music scene called Musique Actuelle, which is a constantly mutating hybrid of various kinds of avant-jazz, traditional folk styles and contemporary classical composition. No two artists under this rubric sound the same, some veering close to the plink-plonk free-improv of Derek Bailey, and others cozying up to the herky-jerky hyper-complexity of progressive rock bands like Henry Cow and Universe Zero. One thing they all share is a sense of fun and an irreverence toward their influences. Both qualities are evident in abundance on this second album by the all-instrumental, many-horned sextet L’Orkestre des Pas Perdus. From trumpet to trombone to sax, from flugelhorn to clarinet to sousaphone, brass and reeds rule. The drummer even plays a snare-piccolo contraption, so everyone’s blowin’ wind here somehow or other. The music is an infectious, rhythmically tricky conflation of Zappa, Ska and Count Basie, and all but begs to be dug. So dig.