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Radio ›› Concentrés et amalgames


1 June 2007
By Kurt Gottschalk in Signal to Noise #46 (USA), June 1, 2007


Montréal’s Ambiances Magnétiques has released some 169 records since 1984 with a pretty remarkable batting record. The original members of the collective (including Jean Derome, René Lussier, Martin Tétreault and Danielle Palardy Roger) have for the most part continued to do challenging work, while younger musicians have been brought into the fold.

Tim Brady is a talented guitarist with a rockish sensibility and plenty of jazz chops. He loves his instrument the way Jasper Johns loves paint: thick and apparent. His 2002 release Twenty Quarter-Inch Jacks was, in that sense, wholly satisfying. As is, in a certain way, his new offering, GO. It’s diverse, it’s raw, it’s pretty, it’s precise. Four compositions of his own and four by others, all strong but as a whole uneven. The disc feels as if Brady is trying to show off many approaches and styles he can pull off. And pull them off he does, so well that it sounds as if it could be a compilation album.

Likewise pianist Gianni Lenoci’s wandering sextet record Sextant. At center, the group is a traditional enough line-up of keyboards, guitar, bass, drum and two saxophones, although the keyboards and guitars are sometimes electronically augmented. Two tracks not penned by Lenoci are Eric Dolphy’s Miss Ann and Morton Feldman’s Intermission VI. Lenoci’s pieces seem to follow the two worlds, skipping between minimalist and jazzy pieces, generally strong tracks, but ultimately seeming to be more a display of diversity than creating a unified feeling.

The same charge could be leveled against clarinetist Lori Freedman’s new CD, culled from three nights of live performances with different trios. The difference here is that the record is exceptional regardless of her motives. A set with guitarist Lussier and turntablist Tétreault is a fascinating, warm rumble. A matchup with saxophonist Derome and guitarist/percussionist Rainer Wiens is strangely moody with touches of spaghetti western. And with percussionist Roger and bassist Nicolas Caloia she explores quiet, extended-improv techniques and jazzier explorations. Despite the different sources, the album holds together surprisingly well.

A different sort of project is presented on the guitar duet by Arthur Bull and Daniel Heïkalo. It’s the sort of bashing-of-minds improv one would expect to find, at this point, in clubs and cafés around the world — busy, sometimes riotously so, and introspective, as if some personal space is being invaded simply by listening. Whereas the other discs ask to be listened to, Bull and Heïkalo seem forever to be changing the subject because a listener walked in.

blogue@press-3335 press@3335
16 January 2007
By Mike Wood in Foxy Digitalis (USA), January 16, 2007


“They hear each other, and respond well to ideas from each other’s encyclopedic mental understanding of guitar history.”

This is Bull/Heïkalo’s third release of solo guitar improvs, give or take some electronically altered sounds here and there. It is the interplay between acoustic and electric guitar that, with the addition of a “prepared drum kit”, create six diverse, virtuoso pieces that are moody, groovy and occasionally fiery.

Building off the delta blues and fusion guitar structures, La solution de l’énigme, Cobra Skin Necktie, and others ring with tones pulled from history and aim beyond it. Moment intense de répit coloré, like Afterthought for Ornette burn with purpose, in homage as well as with an ear for deconstruction of trad rhythms. Lonnie Johnson and Decoction bluesee are the highlights, in which both Bull and Heïkalo—the latter adding percussion—find their peak in rocking yet centered power.

Noted guitar players who hook up tend to disappoint their core fans; the results are usually more tentative and lame than other work. This is the third collaboration between Bull and Heïkalo, and they have moved well beyond any start-trip temptations to form a solid duo. They hear each other, and respond well to ideas from each other’s encyclopedic mental understanding of guitar history. (8/10)

blogue@press-3241 press@3241
1 January 2007
By Dionisio Capuano in Blow Up #104 (Italy), January 1, 2007


“Il suono dell’incontro tra Robert Johnson e Georges Braque.”

L’armamentario di chitarre e percussioni (quest’ultime adoperate da Daniel Heïkalo) è funzionale ad esaltare i vari moods che ispirano l’articolata fantasia improvvisativa del duo. C’è, invero, un tono ubiquitario di percussività e si ha l’impressione di assistere ad una olistica tessitura di trame irregolari, - ora con la consistenza del filo metallico ora quasi seriche (Moment intense de répit coloré ed Elegy, che chiude restituendoci l’aria). Ma tutte le undici tracce rivendicano la loro unicità. Dialogo ispanico-cubista (La solution de l’énigme), confronto plastico corde-percussioni (Cobra Skin Necktie), brillante secchezza con attenzione alle risonanze armoniche (Lonnie Johnson), percussività e sfregamenti teatrali da momenti clou del teatro giapponese (Tunc) o da gamelan balinese (Picottements métalliques), disarticolazioni blues (Décoction bluesée). Piacciono la frenesia scabra tenuta al guinzaglio e l’apparenza d’estemporaneità che si ricompone in immagine dall’avviluppante irregolare geometria. Il suono dell’incontro tra Robert Johnson e Georges Braque.

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7 December 2006
By Dolf Mulder in Vital #555 (Netherlands), December 7, 2006


“Improvised music at its best.”

Two canadian guitar improvisors joined hands once again. As a duo they play since 1995 and in 2000 it was time for their first duo-recording for Ambiances Magnétiques. Arthur Bull is a veteran from the canadian improv scene and played with Michael Snow, Paul Dutton, John Oswald, etc. As a poet he published three books. Heïkalo is an improvisor and composer. He also runs his own label: Heïkalo Sound Productions. Having a look in this catalogue learns that Heïkalo released many solo-albums that show his interest in a diversity of strings instruments and also in electroacoustic music. This label released also the second duo-recording of Bull and Heïkalo. So with Concentrés et amalgames were are listening to their third collaboration. Bull plays electric and prepared guitars and e-bow. Heïkalo we hear on acoustic and classical guitars, but also on drums and percussion. The album features six guitar duets and five duets for guitar and percussion. In their playing they show a great togetherness that results in great music. Improvised music at its best. Both gentlemen speak their language of free form and non-idiomatic improvising very well and give way here to some very communicative and musical interaction in the classical Derek Bailey-style.

blogue@press-3176 press@3176
1 December 2006
By Gabriel Bélanger in SOCAN, Paroles & Musique #13:4 (Canada), December 1, 2006


“Leurs amalgames de guitares et de percussions sont d’une maturité et d’une fraîcheur remarquables.”

Cet album est le troisième enregistrement du duo formé par Arthur Bull et Daniel Heïkalo. Leur collaboration donne lieu à des improvisations renversantes. Les deux guitaristes partagent une même spontaneité et livrent des musiques à la fois intrigantes et déstabilisantes. Leurs amalgames de guitares et de percussions sont d’une maturité et d’une fraîcheur remarquables. Cet album intelligent s’adresse aux connaisseurs comme aux néophytes.

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