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Unusual Formats for New Music

Ken Waxman, The WholeNote, 1 mars 2015

Everything old is new again doesn’t go quite far enough in describing formats now available for disseminating music. Not only are downloads and streaming becoming preferred options, but CDs are still being pressed at the same time as musicians experiment with DVDs, vinyl variants and even tape cassettes. Happily the significance of the musical messages outweighs the media multiplicity. […]

Following up on the new vinyl emphasis, another Montreal-based duo, Pierre-Yves Martel, who plays viola da gamba, objects and feedback, and soprano saxophonist/bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier, have released the LP Sainct Laurens Volume 2, even though Volume 1 was on CD. The choice is somewhat ironic since the textures the duo creates on these eight tracks relates more closely to computerized miniaturization than direct-to-disc mechanism. For a start, Martel treats the viola da gamba like a hammered dulcimer, using percussive resonation to clip and clank discursive blows even as they define the themes. Lauzier’s usual strategy is to pull strident, almost vibrato-less horizontal tones from his horns, creating parallel responses to Martel’s expositions. Emphasizing his instruments’ wood, metal and reed properties, Lauzier’s tone ranges from pan-flute-like airiness to violent glissandi. Additionally, triggered wave forms add below-the-surface comments, creating more sonic surfaces to explore. Volga is one instance where Martel’s steel-pan-like echoes meet equally bellicose bell-like gongs that are revealed as tongue slaps. As the buzzing timbres separate into reed blowing and sul ponticello string extensions, exhilarating timbres reach a crescendo, yet are craftily and abruptly cut off. This split-second timing plus startling tone integration and partition continues throughout the disc, making the pause between LP sides off-putting, but not insurmountable.

Emphasizing his instruments’ wood, metal and reed properties, Lauzier’s tone ranges from pan-flute-like airiness to violent glissandi.

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