The Electroacoustic Music Store

Montreal Sound Matter / Montréal matière sonore Various artists

  • Total duration: 56:54
  • UCC 760342104124

This disc brings together 8 sound artists. The project began with a workshop on environmental sound collecting by Francisco López and led to the development of a collective sound project including an album, a sound installation, and a concert.

Montreal Sound Matter / Montréal matière sonore

Various artists

P 21041-2 / 2006

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In the Press

  • Tobias Fischer, Tokafi, February 15, 2007
    All artists involved were […] wandering through the city and recording its breathings, mutterings and utterings, hollers and whispers.
  • Andrew Choate, Signal to Noise, no. 44, December 1, 2006
  • Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 70, December 1, 2006
    … une résonance du pouls d’un environnement urbain, une manière de reconsidérer les rapports avec l’espace…
  • Jeremy Keens, ¬es, no. 2006_2, September 9, 2006
    … a set of varied and engaging soundworks.
  • Keith Moliné, The Wire, no. 272, September 1, 2006
  • Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 537, August 2, 2006
    [Not] an audio postcard of the city, but rather a more abstract and personal view…

A Personal Approach in Experimental Music

Tobias Fischer, Tokafi, February 15, 2007

Just like classical music, the experimental scene has a bit of a marketing problem. It gets worse the more that pieces are made up mainly of sound instead of melodies and harmonies. After all, most people like to hear the character of the composer shine through in his art and popular myth has it that this is impossible in genres such as musique concrète, field recordings, noise or even drones. This collection of pieces from eight different Montréal-based musicians does away with this kind of prejudice and offers ways to circumvent the problem – simply by being more personal than the rest.

It all begins with the basic concept set up by composer Francisco López, who was born in Spain but to whom Montréal has become a second home over the last couple of years. All artists involved were asked to contribute to a pool of sounds by wandering through the city and recording its breathings, mutterings and utterings, hollers and whispers. Later on, this source provided the basic building blocks for their music. It would have been easy to simply aim at an aural representation of their surroundings, to capture what sourrounds them sound-wise and to merely reconstruct it in the studio. Yet what López was looking for went deeper - a project, which would tap into the town’s sonic potential and create short episodes of birth, life and death, a sort of miniature model, which could emulate Montréal’s abilitiy to establish some kind of reality. On the other hand, by transferring this task to several independently operating artists, the individual was suddenly given the opportunity of freely selecting these audio-objects and of guiding them in a distinct direction – or of making them follow a certain set of rules and of observing their behaviours. The result is a diverse disc, which touches on almost all of the styles mentioned in the opening paragraph, yet never weighs heavy on the listener and manages to bring us closer to the personalities of their creators without saying a single word (or boring one with page-long biographies). Hélène Prévost loves bathing in the lively commotion of the streets, while Steve Heimbecker enjoys a relaxed break with the sounds of nature never far away. Louis Dufort and Thomas Phillips are both fascinated by the mystery behind the facade, even though Dufort is obviously tempted by sudden signs of significance and Phillips by more general moods. The list goes on, with each track offering new surprises and insights. And at the end of each one, the shutter of the lense closes for a few seconds just to open up again and zoom in on yet another world.

Through listening, you feel closer to the city and its people, even though what you’ve heard will neither show up in any tourist’s guide nor wait for you when you come to visit. Yet, thanks to the experiment’s parameters, this is in no way a disadvantage nor a contradiction in terms. Montréal Sound Matter / Montréal matière sonore stands firmly as a testimony of the town’s ability to spark creativity, of its artist's expressiveness and of the benefits of a personal approach in experimental music. And even though it may not solve the marketing problem completely, it is an extremely enjoyable disc by all means.

All artists involved were […] wandering through the city and recording its breathings, mutterings and utterings, hollers and whispers.

Critique

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 70, December 1, 2006

L’installation sonore initiée par Francisco López l’été dernier à Montréal aurait pu être présentée aux journées de l’architecture proposée le mois dernier au musée d’Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg. En effet, l’invitation faite au public montréalais était de se réapproprier, par l’imaginaire, leur ville. Cette installation qualifiée d’art visuel se faisait en effet dans le noir complet et esquissait une sorte de reconstruction de l’espace sonore d’une ville. Ce disque en est la transcription. Huit artistes sonores, la plupart québéois et émergeant de structures telles qu’empreintes DIGITALes, Avatar (A_dontigny, Chantal Dumas, Louis Dufort… ) ont ainsi capté des sons de la ville, les ont réinterprétés […] offrant à l’auditeur visonnaire une résonance du pouls d’un environnement urbain, une manière de reconsidérer les rapports avec l’espace, pas uniquement sonore.

Les visions proposées ici peuvent apparaître oppressantes ou aériennes, mêler le stress urbain et des sentiments plus bucoliques. Le tout lié bien sûr aux expériences propores à chacun.

… une résonance du pouls d’un environnement urbain, une manière de reconsidérer les rapports avec l’espace…

Review

Jeremy Keens, ¬es, no. 2006_2, September 9, 2006

This album complements an exhibition which is on as I write this (August 2006). Under the artistic direction of Francisco López, eight sound artists collected material around Montréal, pooled it and then each created a piece. The results fall into two general categories. First, those whose pieces are based within the sound: Hélène Prévost whose piece shifts between the site recordings and skewed patched/processed outputs, shifting between the concrete and abstract, sometimes aggressive but generally relaxed; Heimbecker who layers buzzing sounds against recognisable site recordings, eventually you become desensitised to the buzz and hear the sounds; Chantal Dumas with recognisable water, birds, strings, doors, some processing but creating a sound picture of a city; A_dontigny who layers the material in a complex and dense work. The others take the sounds well away from source — Dufort rapidly shifts away from recognisable elements to clouds of fragments, building and falling ending in a strong overdrone; Phillips with attractive ambient drones, subsonic shakings and ringing; López scratching scraping deep thrums, some bird noises, sometimes noisy; Levesque’s very electro squeals, clicks, looping percussive thrums, plucked notes. The common elements lend some connections across the set, but the Montréal theme is not strong, but rather this works as a set of varied and engaging soundworks.

… a set of varied and engaging soundworks.

Review

Keith Moliné, The Wire, no. 272, September 1, 2006

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 537, August 2, 2006

Montréal is a nice city, at least the two streets I saw when I stayed there a whole week (my mistake, I know). It has been also the second home of Francisco López for the last six years, playing lots of concerts there and from there it’s a small step to Montréal Sound Matter / Montréal matière sonore, a workshop on environmental sound by Senor Lopez of which there is in the end this CD, an installation and a concert. Various musicians from Montréal attended this workshop, which deals with collecting sounds from Montréal. Not to make an audio postcard of the city, but rather a more abstract and personal view of the city, by people who already lived there much longer than Lopez. So it’s not a matter of saying, ‘oh this is that street, or this nice restaurant (‘Schwarz’, anyone?)’, but to sit back and take it in as a long soundscape of the city. Rather than seeing this as eight separate pieces of music, I see it as one city seen through eight microphones and some of them present their work in their most pure form, like an unaltered recording, some as a cut-up and with some it’s hard to recognize any sort of field recording at all, such is the case with Tomas Phillips. But all the tracks are thus placed on the CD that they make their trip through the city, from busyness to quietness and back again. Only towards the very end of the CD, in the piece by Mathieu Lévesque, there is a bit of music sipping through: a computerized game music thingy. In the end we know nothing more about Montréal, but we do experienced a beautiful trip through a very nice city. It also includes pieces by Hélène Prévost, Steve Heimbecker, Louis Dufort, Chantal Dumas, A_dontigny and of course Lopez himself.

[Not] an audio postcard of the city, but rather a more abstract and personal view…

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