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29 January 2010

Joane Hétu and Danielle Palardy Roger will be at Le Cagibi on Tuesday February 2, 2010 as part of the Mardi spaghetti weekly series for creative music.

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29 January 2010
By François Couture in Monsieur Délire (Québec), January 29, 2010

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“This, their first duo CD is downright splendid.”

Philippe Lauzier (sax) and Pierre-Yves Martel (viola da gamba) are two of the most active recrutes of late in Ambiances Magnétiques’ fold. This, their first duo CD (out on &records, Michel F. Côté’s imprint) is downright splendid. A series of careful pieces in which each sound is weighted yet flows naturally. A journey inside the instruments involved (those above mentioned, plus bass clarinet, tubes, melodica, small speakers, radios, and contact mics), but foremost inside a deep-running musical relationship between the two protagonists. You can clearly feel how these two have been and are still making discoveries together. A demanding listen but a beautiful album.

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29 January 2010
By Jay Batzner in Sequenza 21 (USA), January 29, 2010

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Amy Horvey tackles exciting and provocative repertoire on this offering and nails all of it.”

This is not your typical solo trumpet disc. Some folks might dismiss a CD made up almost entirely of solo trumpet music, but when the most straightforward thing on a disc was written by Scelsi, I get kind of excited. Amy Horvey tackles exciting and provocative repertoire on this offering and nails all of it.

The Quattro pezzi by Scelsi kick off the disc and highlight Ms Horvey’s chops and musicality. Her tone is dark and somber, her ability to connect the lengthy lyrical lines in each piece is uncanny, and the only thing that would make the performance better would be hearing her live. These are demanding pieces and she squeezes every nuance of music from them.

Cecilia Arditto’s Música Invisible is in three movements (Sfumato, Chiaroscuro, and Anamorphosis) and uses both flugelhorn and trumpet. Each work involves the use of extended techniques such as singing while playing, extreme pedal tone melodies, and putting the bell of the trumpet into a bowl of water. Regardless of the techniques, which are intrinsic to the sound worlds of the pieces and not mere gimmicks, the music is haunting and meaningful. Each gesture is given time and space to develop and mature and, at about 12 minutes, I could stand to listen to a whole lot more.

The next two works both feature spoken passages as well as played passages. Anna Höstman’s Interview relates to a larger work about trumpet soloist Edna White called “Queen of the Music Boxes.” The fragments of text coax listeners into an emotional world with very little said. The music that follows is sometimes playful, sometimes sorrowful, and Ms Horvey communicates the text well without being too hammy or too stoic in affect. In contrast to the fragmentary Interview, Apparatus Inconcinnus by Ryan Purchase contains more of a linear narrative about remembering how to count by Russian author Daniil Charms. This humorous anecdote takes some serious musical terms and would be, of course, most effective in a live performance. The story holds the music together very well. My only quibble of this disc, if I have to have one, is that these two very similar works were programmed back to back.

The final work, Overture to “The Queen of the Music Boxes”, includes the electro-acoustic / circuit-bending / composer Jeff Morton working with prepared music boxes, toy instruments, and electronics. The composition is largely about Morton’s sound world of dreamy, lo-fi mechanical music making than it is Amy Horvey’s trumpet playing. When the trumpet melody does emerge, the dreaminess of Morton’s contraptions becomes more accompaniment than ambient. The whole piece projects an introspective mood and is the perfect sound world to close off the CD.

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28 January 2010

For another year, the Festival Voix d’Amériques collaborates with many musicians of whom Bernard Falaise, Michel F Côté, Pierre Tanguay, Pierre-Yves Martel and Alexis O’Hara. The festival begins next Friday, February 5-12, 2010 at La Chapelle, Casa del Popolo, and La Sala Rossa in Montréal.

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28 January 2010
By François Couture in Monsieur Délire (Québec), January 28, 2010

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“Nice sonic work, nice energy, nice way to sound sloppy yet under control. Kudos!”

Wow, this is one fun, dirty collaboration between drummer/noisician Michel F. Côté and sampling artist a_dontigny (Aimé Dontigny of morceaux_de_machines). Explosions of drums, limping pieces, decontextualized audio quotes, irreverential games. It’s driving, intriguing, it’s trying to be ugly but it ain’t! Nice sonic work, nice energy, nice way to sound sloppy yet under control. Kudos! And La Notte Fa is totally in line with Côté’s latest recording projects, namely (juste) Claudette and Vulgarités, his duo with Isaiah Ceccarelli.

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27 January 2010
By John Kelman in All About Jazz (USA), January 27, 2010

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“When a debut’s as good as Geggie Project it’s worth the wait.”

Released a few months prior to Across the Sky (Plunge, 2009) and, despite the two releases really representing one multifaceted debut, Geggie Project is the official first release as a leader from John Geggie, a bassist deserving far greater recognition. Geggie Project finds the Ottawa, Canada-based bassist, Toronto-based drummer Nick Fraser, and inestimable free improvising pianist Marilyn Crispell entering the realm of music as conversation. Given her more recent inward-looking proclivities, it wouldn’t be a huge leap to compare Geggie Project with recent Crispell trio recordings like Storyteller (ECM, 2004), but doing so only completes half the picture.

There’s no denying that Geggie Project leans towards a similar gentle introspection. Certainly Geggie’s seven compositions—comprising half the program and balanced with a series of collective trio improvisations—possess similar markers. The lovely I Wanted More is a rubato tone poem rivaled only by Across the Sky, performed with an understated sense of dramatic tension, with Geggie and Crispell in spontaneous counterpoint and Fraser creating delicate swatches of color.

Geggie’s playing has undergone some remarkable evolutionary leaps over the past couple of years—something clear those who have followed his annual Geggie Concert Series The National Arts Centre Fourth Stage—making it, perhaps, a good things that the bassist waited this long to record his debut as a leader. His confident pizzicato opens the record on Credo; when Fraser and Crispell do enter, the pianist responding to Geggie’s increasingly persistent lines with spare, dark lines and equally impressionistic voicings, the coalescence into form is soft but unmistakably visceral. The group takes just as much time finding its way to Run-Away Sheep‘s quirky form and barely predictable stops-and-starts, while on Or Not, the trio comes as close to swinging as it ever does on the disc; rather than its pulse being firmly defined by any one player, however, it’s built by all—lose one player and the entire forward motion would fall apart like a house of cards.

The seven improvisations peppered throughout the disc are as revelatory as Geggie’s writing—and what really takes this trio away from the ECM aesthetic. Far more angular, and with a drier sound that’s more direct, brief improvs like Ice and Meltwater and Weather Forecast skitter around with a purpose, while the more lyrical Réconfort and starker Entre chien et loup are the dictionary definition of the term “spontaneous composition.” But it’s the closing Bouclier canadien that proves this trio’s truest mettle, with Crispell’s jagged chords, Fraser’s Tony Oxley-informed controlled chaos, and Geggie’s harmonic-driven arco building, over the course of five minutes, a gradually intensifying crescendo of unexpected power and even rarer patience.

When a debut’s as good as Geggie Project it’s worth the wait. When it’s coupled with Across the Sky, it’s a powerful one-two punch that finally rights a major wrong, by providing some much-needed and well-deserved exposure for an artist who has remained a well-kept local secret for far too long.

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