Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 428, 23 juin 2004

On the compilation CD Sang 9 reviewed for Vital several months ago, the Ambiances Magnétiques label presented new and lesser known talents from Canada on the new music scene. One of them was Mélanie Auclair who now presents her first solo effort. On most of the pieces on this debut she either sings or plays cello. Most pieces have accompanied with another musician. On one piece we hear a trio and in the opening track Auclair plays a solopiece for cello. Auclair started playing cello at the age of 4 and later she was trained in classical singing. Nowadays Auclair likes to play improvised music because of her interest and drive to let emerge music spontaneously. She recorded with Joane Hétu, Bernard Falaise and Klaxon Gueule a.o. Auclair also has some experience in composing for theatre and dance productions. But now she wanted her music to stand on it’s own feet. For this project she asked and received the cooperation of several musicians she admires. We hear Auclair in duo with Vincent Réhel (piano), Guy Thouin (percussion, voice), Eric Auclair (bass, vibraphone), Charles Papasoff (bariton sax), Joane Hétu (voice) and Bernard Falaise (electric guitar). The cd closes with a trio by Eric Auclair and Michel Dubeau (Shakuachi). So it should not surprise that the 8 tracks on this cd make up a varied collection of improvisations. In all these meetings Auclair was interested in letting the improvisations come as spontaneoulsy as possible. If you ask me what they have in common, I would say that most pieces develop in the same slow pace. The intense vocal piece by Auclair and Hétu forms the exception. Because Auclair likes to play the low ranges of the cello most pieces have a dark and melancholic atmosphere, which is escpecially the case for the moving opening track. A common quality is also that most improvisations are textural explorations. Another musician mysterously named Papa Sucreah plays a role here. He seems to involved in most of the tracks doing some electronic extras that I’m unable to identify. Anyway with Puce à l’oreille Auclair delivers a improvised music that is ‘unspectacular’ but of a great emotive quality and honesty.

Auclair delivers a improvised music that is ‘unspectacular’ but of a great emotive quality and honesty.