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Chris Kelsey, Cadence, no 23:5, 1 mai 1997

The most interesting thing about this CD of mostly free improvisation is the opportunity it affords us to monitor the artists’ progress from 1984, when the first seven tracks were recorded, to 1996, when cuts 8 through 16 were laid down. In ’84, both Lussier and Lepage were well on their way to developing their own voices, though both were still manifestly groping. Lussier’s style was a mechanistic abstract-expressionism; his timbres were harsh, his lines jagged, his melodies and hammonies of little consequence given his extreme textural freedom. By ’96, the guitarist has his materials under control. The rough edges are leH that way purposely; they are no longer perceived as accidents. Lussier’s increased skills have given his work a more humane cast- ironic, perhaps, given this album’s stated intent, which is as a parody of our mechanized consumer society. Lepage’s development is similar. Where in ’84 he was searching - playing two saxes simultaneously, manipulating his tone and articulating in an extreme and sometimes clumsy manner - by’96 his chops are together. The harshness is leavened by a control that wasn’t there twelve years earlier. The mature Lepage concentrates on clarinet, upon which he has a comprehensive technique; hence, his lines are informed by a melodic sense that was far less pronounced on the earlier date. The duo benefits from the individual evolution of the piayers. Where, in the first recordings, the improvising moves in a more parallel direction - the players’limitations prohibit a more integrated, interactive perfommance - the later tracks are far more well-coordinated. The’84 cuts were made by a pair of talented students; the recent tracks by mature fine artists. Consequently, we have one-half of a very fine album - enough, I think, for me to recommend it.

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