It’s rather amusing, at this early date, to already be able to talk about “old-school” vinyl-less turntablism, but that’s pretty much the case here. Tétreault is one of the acknowledged masters of this approach, having pioneered it along with (and often in the company of) Otomo Yoshihide, but his approach was usually activist in nature, unleashing a flurry of scratches, groans, ticks and many other sounds within a conception that owed more to free improvisation from an avant jazz stance than post-AMM electro-acoustic improvisation.
Here, he’s joined by Ignaz Schick, a younger collaborator perhaps best known for his involvement with the improvising ensembles Perlon and Perlonex. The music is presented in two series of seven tracks each. The first (titled, 1-p45 un through 7-p45 sept) is the rougher of the pair, the sounds tending toward the rudely percussive and raspy. While the dynamics and textures range widely, the activity is fairly incessant like a hive of mechanical insects scurrying about their daily tasks. The tone is hard and bleak but no less effective for that, the tendency for elements to possess a repetitive quality reinforcing the gray, industrial aspect although later in the sequence, bell-like tones are heard offering a glimmer of light. The second set of cuts, while by no means rosy, is somewhat more tonal in nature, with ringing metal of various kinds playing a larger role (again, in the later portions). There’s also less of a claustrophobic feel, more of a spatial expanse and a greater amount of “air” around the sounds. One has the impression that there’s more listening occurring between Schick and Tetreault than in the earlier suite. This makes for a slightly more satisfying set, though both have their strong points.
So, it’s “old-school” vis a vis its structure and “busyness” as compared to many more reductionist practitioners but it retains much of the power and brutality that made many of ours ears perk up a decade or so ago.