Reviews

Monk Mink Pink Punk (USA)

November 2017 by Josh Rosen

Karoline Leblanc – Velvet Oddities

A pianist and multi-instrumentalist in the Total Improvisation Troop, a very large Canadian collective, Leblanc sits alone, spinning out nineteen short pieces on acoustic piano. The pieces defy categorization, sometimes resembling the works of Erik Satie, sometimes the work of Bill Evans, sometimes Philip Corner, but I assume all of these works are improvised, having the tenacity to veer off into interesting little tangents in a pleasing inquisitive manner. A few pieces explore keyboard mania, seemingly playing at top speed.

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Revue & Corrigée (France)

Novembre 2017 par Cyrille Lanoë

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

Leblanc-Vicente-Antunes-Ferreira Lopes A Square Meal atrito-afeito 007 – Nük Vol au Vent Gex records. Deux disques me semblant complémentaires me sont parvenus quasi simultanément, il y a un petit temps déjà et je m’en excuse auprès des intéressés. Deux disques enregistrés en mai et juillet 2016 pour une sortie en ce début d’année. Un au Portugal par Paulo J Ferreira Lopes, l’autre en France par Jean-Marc Foussat. Deux parallèles entre fraicheur et générosité. Au Portugal, les artistes locaux PJ Ferreira Lopes, Luis Vicente, et Hugo Antunes s’associent à Karoline Leblanc, pianiste montréalaise . On retrouve le piano en pièce centrale de ces deux disques, sur celui de Nük il est tenu (dressé) par Cécile Thévenot accompagnée des percussions de Benoit Kilian. Le quartet manie avec beauté, tact et dénué d’effets inutiles, les envolées jazz improvisé et les moments de dispersion, pour une dynamique qui me paraît proche de The Necks. Il réussit avec brio à faire passer ses émotions du jeu intentionnel, à l’affût de sonorités claires, précises et pures. Cinq pièces qui héritent d’un mastering intransigeant rendant la rencontre encore meilleure. En France, le duo Nük reste là où le quartet explose, dans les récifs délaissés par l’impro pour y explorer les inspirations les plus rêches, les plus ténues, avec un piano joué aussi bien à l’intérieur que de façon traditionnelle. Evidemment, avec Jean-Marc Foussat à l’enregistrement, nous sommes proches des productions Potlach et Fou records bien sur. Plus électroacoustiques que chez le quartet, les sonorités perçantes jouent des coudes avec une électroacoustique linéaire, avec le souffle vibrant, sur un épilogue le plus long du disque, en écho au dernier (et super) titre de longueur légèrement inférieure. Entre les deux, plusieurs pistes à tous les sens du terme, parfois très courtes. Dans un dialogue au vocabulaire soutenu, agrémenté de tentatives de communication verbale susurrée, auxquelles répondent des râles frottés sur les peaux des percussions. Une électroacoustique fine, musclée et exigeante.

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The WholeNote  and  Jazzword (Canada)

October 1st 2017 by Ken Waxman

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

As the equivalent of topping gooey Québécois poutine with piquant Portuguese sausage, this square meal is hard-edged and free-form, combining the talents of Montrealers, pianist Karoline Leblanc and drummer Paul J. Ferreira Lopes with Lisbon residents, trumpeter Luís Vicente and Hugo Antunes. Throughout, the quartet members function as master chefs for whom cooking Iberian-Canadian fare is commonplace.

With A Square Meal’s flavoursome main courses, spiky extended feasts, and sonic appetizers and desserts of the same quality, the tracks are spiced with slick piano glissandi, sifted trumpet whinnies, rounded double-bass plops and drums hammered with the efficiency of a meat tenderizer. Although infused with extended techniques, these splintered and kinetic courses also have a base of rib-sticking home cooking, since melodic slices are present throughout. Leblanc, for instance, may appear to be cramming too many notes into a tremolo outpouring, but like a seasoned cook that output fits succulently. The quartet’s replication of agile line cooking is most apparent on the 23-minute Creature Comforts. Open-ended with welcoming piano chords and a languid shuffle beat from the drummer, the narrative is swiftly shaded and sharpened with aggressive, double-tongued brass rasps, paced by string crackles from the bassist and active drum smacks. Just when it appears that Vicente can’t slur any more dissonant tones from his instrument, Leblanc’s steady comping pushes the trumpeter to mid-range blowing and joins him to return to the near-romantic theme of the beginning. A Square Meal may be unusual fare, but it’s undoubtedly musically nourishing.

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FreeForm, FreeJazz (Brazil)

September 15 2017 by Fabricio Vieira

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

****(*)

A pianista canadense Karoline Leblanc se une aqui aos portugueses Luís Vicente (trompete), Hugo Antunes (baixo) e o baterista Paulo J Ferreira Lopes (este, radicado em Québec). O resultado é um impactante registro, captado em maio de 2016 no Namouche Studios (Lisboa). Editado pelo selo independente atrito-afeito, de Leblanc e Lopes, A Square Meal é uma exploração improvisativa que não ignora as trilhas do jazz (ou, mais especificamente, do free jazz). E o lírico free impro que emana do álbum realmente consegue alcançar momentos sublimes, como bem aponta de cara “Ken Tack”, faixa que abre o conjunto preparando os ouvidos para o melhor que virá. Se o quarteto soa bastante integrado, é inegável que piano e trompete acabam por brilhar mais, encantando-nos (parecendo até que sem esforço) em diferentes passagens. E isso pode ser apreciado em todas as faixas, com destaque para uma das mais extensas, “Mind and Intent”, que oferece de pronto cinco minutos de intensidade contagiante, antes de uma estratégica pausa que nos conduz para um processo em crescendo, que culmina com um intenso solo de piano que nos leva à mais relaxada etapa final. Um disco para ser ouvido vezes seguidas.

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bodyspace  and  A Forma do Jazz (Portugal)

September 12 2017 by Nuno Catarino

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

Improv luso-canadiana.

Karoline Leblanc é uma pianista canadiana (n. 1975) que começou a sua ligação à música através da música clássica mas nos últimos anos tem desenvolvido o seu percurso nos terrenos da improvisação livre. Em 2016 editou o disco a solo “Velvet Oddities” e tem trabalhado em parceria com Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes (n. 1962), baterista português radicado no Quebec, que foi membro dos Ocaso Épico. A dupla é responsável pela editora Atrito-Afeito, que vem editando material – sobretudo CD-Rs em edições limitadas – desde o ano de 2013.

Recentemente, Leblanc vem alimentando uma especial ligação à cena improvisada portuguesa: participou no festival MIA (Atouguia da Baleia) e editou na Creative Sources um disco em parceria com o Lisbon String Trio (Ernesto Rodrigues, Miguel Mira e Alvaro Rosso). Esta ligação foi reforçada com a edição deste novo disco “A Square Meal” (Atrito-Afeito, 2017), com a dupla luso-canadiana a juntar-se a dois músicos portugueses de créditos firmados: o contrabaixista Hugo Antunes e o trompetista Luís Vicente.

Se Antunes e Vicente habitualmente navegam entre o jazz e a música livremente improvisada, neste caso a música assenta no mais puro free improv sem rede. O jazz também está lá, na forma como os temas são desenvolvidos, na interação entre os vários instrumentistas, vários elementos musicais utilizados, na herança Cecil Taylor. O disco arranca com o piano a lançar ideias, logo acompanhado pelo contrabaixo e percussão, de seguida a intervenção do trompete contribui para a combustão colectiva.

A música do grupo não se deixa apanhar, vive nesse permanente jogo de procura-encontro-desencontro. O principal destaque é o piano de Leblanc, quase sempre intempestivo, torrencial. Logo a seguir salienta-se o trompete de Vicente, muito interventivo, versátil e incendiário. Ainda que menos fulgurantes que piano e trompete, o contrabaixo de Antunes e a percussão de Ferreira Lopes não se deixam esconder. A dupla ocupa os espaços com inteligência, contribui para uma massa sonora equilibrada. O contrabaixo faz-se notar, contribuindo para a estrutura, por vezes servindo-se do arco sabiamente.

Ao longo de cinco temas, o quarteto luso-canadiano desenvolve uma música que, sem ter referências prévias, vai encontrado pontos de contacto, construindo a sua estrutura que denota solidez – apesar de maleável, em constante evolução. Entre encontros e fugas, crescendos enérgicos e fragmentos de puro lirismo, o quarteto Leblanc / Vicente / Antunes / Ferreira Lopes apresenta uma música viva.

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Musicworks (Canada)

July 2017 by Lawrence Joseph

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

Portugal has a vibrant free-jazz scene with prolific record labels like Clean Feed, prominent festivals like Jazz Em Agosto, and a plethora of world-class performers. This CD brings together two such musicians from Lisbon, trumpeter Luís Vicente and double bassist Hugo Antunes, with the Montreal duo of pianist Karoline Leblanc and drummer Paulo J Ferreira Lopes, the latter born in Lisbon. As frequent visitors to Portugal, the Montrealers have previously played in various ensembles with both Vicente and Antunes. This familiarity is manifest within the grooves of this tight hour-long studio session, which was burned to CD in the original order and without any edits.
On first listen, this outing might pass as a lost gem from the mid ’60s, perhaps a Cecil Taylor studio outtake. The music is not without more modern touches, however, like the occasional white-noise smears from Vicente. His mischievous yet melodic motifs run almost continuously throughout, like a kid who ignores the teacher’s call to go back inside after recess. While Vicente’s torrential outpourings are often equalled by those from Leblanc’s piano, Ferreira Lopes and Antunes tend to quietly support, rarely taking centre stage but providing the essential propulsion necessary for this music to really cook.
The five tracks all feature tasty playing, and the expertly mastered recording ensures that each contribution occupies its own space, a dense but clear mix. As A Square Meal implies, this is a traditional but entirely satiating workout.

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Kathodik (Italy)

July 7 2017 by Marco Carcasi

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

Un severo quartetto impro di ruvida matrice jazz/contemporanea, tromba/piano/contrabbasso/batteria (Leblanc / Vicente Antunes / Ferreira Lopes), registrato in live di studio a Lisbona nel 2016.
Cinque composizioni istantanee, che inglobano spasmi spirituali (a maggior trazione negli inneschi tromba/contrabbasso), martellanti linee pianistiche di matrice classica (in controllato scaracollo o gocciolamenti d’opale al chiar di luna) e drumming in frenesia fratturante di avvito free europeo.
Silenzi, archetti, gorgogliamenti, respirazioni, schianti e metalli raschiati inclusi nel mazzo.
Zone di interazione rattrappito/minimale ed insistenze d’insieme, eleganti e di riflessiva irruenza.
L’opera di convergenza fra input sperimentali messa in atto dall’etichetta del Québec, procede spedita senza intoppi sulla tratta Canada/Portogallo.

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Orynx (Belgique)

26 Juin 2017 par Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

Encore un album avec le trompettiste portugais Luis Vicente, apprécié dans Fail Better !, Chamber 4, Clocks and Clouds, In Layers, quatre opus vraiment recommandables. Ces musiciens portugais s’activent se font connaître avec des improvisateurs français, anglais, américains… Rien d’étonnant de les entendre faire équipe avec une pianiste Québecquoise,Karoline Leblanc.  Free-jazz « free » lyrique, racé et rebondissant, piano mouvant et piloté par des mains expertes en phase avec les phrases tour à tour enflammées ou relâchées du trompettiste, qui n’hésite pas à éructer en cisaillant la colonne d’air. Le batteur Paulo Ferreira Lopes drive de la pointe des baguettes avec goût et une belle sûreté rythmique, sans oublier un sens de l’économie des gestes, le bassiste Hugo Antunes assure la pulsation première avec goût et de belles notes rondes ou s’échappe en frottant dans les harmoniques entraînant le trompettiste dans ses derniers retranchements, l’art bruitiste faisant merveille. Une réelle cohérence s’établit au fil des cinq morceaux vivaces, primesautiers, intenses, vécus et un vrai sens de l’improvisation. Au fur et à mesure que les morceaux défilent, une interaction de qualité entre chacun d’eux se développe comme une excroissance de l’identité sonore du groupe. Dans une formule instrumentale hyper reconnue, les quatre musiciens captivent l’auditeur avec brio, logique, spontanéité et sans bavardage. Une de leurs qualités est ce sens inné de la dynamique qui apporte la légèreté indispensable aux improvisateurs pour s’envoler. Karoline Leblanc fait un excellent travail de musicienne de groupe (collective) et Luis Vicente se confirme encore comme une voix particulière de la trompette (avec sourdine ou sans) qui dose ses interventions à la perfection, jouant son rôle de première voix du quartette avec le plus grand naturel : il joue ce qui doit être joué dans la logique du projet. Excellent !!

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Citizen Jazz (France)

11 Juin 2017 par Franpi Barriaux

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

 Luís Vicente est un chasseur de perles, principalement planquées dans tous les recoins d’Europe. Il les déniche auprès des scènes les plus vivaces ou exotiques. Les pêches sont à chaque fois miraculeuses : de son récent In Layers avec Onno Govaert jusqu’aux collaborations avec le Tricollectif, sa trompette volubile est chez elle partout où elle est invitée. C’est un talent rare que d’imprimer toujours sa patte dans les divers univers où l’on plonge, sans pour autant tomber dans l’uniformisation.

Il y a certes entre What About Sam ? et ce quartet qui présente A Square Meal quelques similitudes, dans la fougue comme dans l’agitation qui cherche le mouvement perpétuel. On retrouve au côté du trompettiste une colonie intarissable de musiciens lusitaniens, à commencer par l’impressionnant batteur Paulo J Ferreira Lopes, idéal accélérateur de particules qui sait faire exploser les formes au bon moment (« Cubeb and Lime »). Toutes les participations de Vicente à un disque concourent à une communauté d’idée sur le devenir de l’improvisation mondiale plus que de la redite ou de l’expression d’une « bande ». La plupart des musiciens ici présents sont nouveaux dans sa discographie. C’est d’ailleurs Karoline Leblanc, jeune pianiste québécoise qui mène les débats, et c’est l’une des plus brillantes perles que Vicente ait jamais ramenées. On s’en convainc avec l’intense « Creature Comforts » où son jeu pugnace et cogneur se heurte de plein fouet à la contrebasse malmenée de Hugo Antunes. Sur cette basse aussi brûlante que de la lave, Luís Vicente souffle sur les braises dans un râle d’embouchure colérique, lorsqu’il ne s’atomise pas en divers éclats de cuivre.

Il serait caricatural de dire que la pêche a eu lieu dans les eaux territoriales de l’Amérique du Nord. A bien des égards, à l’écoute de « Ken Tack » et ces basses martelées par Leblanc, on se situe dans l’espace infini de l’improvisation européenne. Néanmoins, à la moindre étincelle -et elles ne tardent guère- on se souvient que le contrebassiste a beaucoup travaillé avec Chris Corsano, Nate Wooley ou John Dikeman (notamment avec Luís Vicente sur l’excellent Salão Brazil). Les rages soudaines, souvent attisées par les cordes, font régulièrement songer à cette proximité américaine, d’autant que la discographie de la pianiste, parue majoritairement sur le label Atrito-Afeito qui accueille A Square Meal, est très largement nourrie de cette tradition plus free, sensible dans un morceau orgiaque comme « A Square Meal », mais également dans un album tel Man of War avec le Total Improvisation Troop. Excitante découverte.

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Trybuna Muzyki Spontanicznej (Poland)

April 26 2017 by Andrzej Nowak

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

Muzyków odnajdujemy w czeluściach piekielnych Namouche Studios. Słoneczny poranek (?), prawdziwa (!) wiosna za oknem. Przy fortepianie gość z Kanady, Karoline Leblanc, po prawdzie zapewne główny inicjator spotkania, a już z całą pewnością wydawca muzyki, jaka za moment powstanie. Tuż obok niej, nie pierwszy zresztą raz, perkusista Paulo J Ferreira Lopes (przyznaję, że widzę go po raz pierwszy). Kolejni dwaj muzycy już szczerzą do nas zęby, bo znamy się świetnie – Luis Vicente na trąbce i Hugo Antunes na kontrabasie. Materiał muzyczny, który zgrabnie wyimprowizują w/w muzycy, zostanie skodyfikowany w pięć fragmentów z tytułami, potrwa godzinę zegarową, a trafi do nas dzięki płycie A Square Meal

(atrito-afeito, 2017). Podmiot wykonawczy określony zostaje poprzez wymienienie z imienia i nazwiska wszystkich muzyków w takiej to kolejności instrumentalnej – piano, trąbka, kontrabas i perkusja.

Od razu zaznaczmy, iż płyta stanowi nieprzerwany ciąg improwizowanych dźwięków, a zaczyna go głęboki, nisko zwieszony pasaż fortepianu. Wtóruje mu niezwykle stanowczy kontrabas, skupiona perkusja i trąbka w stanie delikatnej preparacji. Wstęp nie jest przegadany, a kwartet w mgnieniu oka osiąga większą motorykę. Narracja jest gęsto tkana, bez specjalnych fajerwerków, toczy się zwinnie, zwartym szykiem i zdecydowaniena temat. Demokracja wewnątrz kwartetu nie budzi zastrzeżeń służb specjalnych, a muzyka płynie bardzo wartkim strumieniem, brocząc w oceanie dalece swobodnej wymiany myśli i empatycznych zachowań wszystkich muzyków. Struktura pomysłu na improwizację nie jest nadmiernie skomplikowana, stanowi wyważony konglomerat indywidualnych incydentów, udanie łączonych w kolektywne wypowiedzi. Określeniefree jazz winno paść w tym momencie i stanowić stały punkt odniesienia dla tego nagrania. Tak istotne dla jakości muzyki parametry – umiejętności muzyków i adekwatna wyobraźnia – są tu udziałem każdego, a w szczególności, co nas zupełnie nie dziwi, Luisa Vicente.

W trzecim fragmencie tej dość jednorodnej i skupionej opowieści, dopada nas dalece frapujące wyciszenie po dość intensywnym galopie – szmery, westchnienia, tarcia, tłuste smyki i nieśmiałe preparacje pianistki. Dramaturgia tej orgii improwizacji opiera się na pięknym dysonansie budowanym na styku kontrabasu (kanał lewy) i trąbki (kanał prawy). Ich wymiany poglądów, subtelne zwroty dramaturgiczne są kluczem do interpretacji zamysłów wszystkich muzyków. Karoline niechybnie czerpie dużą radość z operowania klawiszami odpowiedzialnymi na niskie częstotliwości, co stanowi istotny powód dla odbiorcy, by częstowgryzać się w jej pianistykę. Perkusista bywa tu czujny, nienachalny i choć momentami ledwie znaczy swoją obecność, to trudno byłoby sobie wyobrazić ów kwartet bez jego udziału. Mistrzem ceremonii, mimo demokratycznego statusu w zespole, pozostaje jednak doskonały trębacz, który co rusz zrywa nam kurz z powiek i uwalnia tony endorfin. Szczęśliwie dla obrazu całości, pozostali muzycy spokojnie nadążają za jego wyobraźnią. Być może, w niektórych momentach, brakuje nieco pieprzu w tej muzyce (preparacji piana? Karoline – więcej odwagi!), ale samo obcowanie z interakcjami na linii Antunes-Vicente nakazuje ustawiać ocenę tej płyty na wysokim szczeblu. Pierwsza część czwartego upływa nam na studiowaniu niezwykletaylorowskiej galopady pianistki. Free pełną gębą! W tym samym niemal momencie istotnie odżywa także perkusista, dając krótkie i kompetentne solo, które skutecznie zagaduje, jak zwykle nadaktywny trębacz. Robi się z tego ekscytujące duo, które subtelnie stemplują jednodźwiękami kontrabas i piano. Być może ten moment winniśmy uznać za najbardziej wartościowy na krążku. Finał – dynamiczny, dwuminutowy – wybudza nas z dalece udanego muzycznego letargu

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The Sound Projector (UK)

April 15 2017 by Paul Khimasia Morgan

Karoline Leblanc – Velvet Oddities

PETALODY

This arrived with a hand-written note on a very nice piece of marbled paper. Perhaps the marbling is the work of Karoline Leblanc as well, perhaps not. The design of the cd sleeve is also very striking. A warm-yellow sleeve; a single fold-over piece of card, but professionally printed in full colour; the yellow on the outside augmented with a four bar graphic – three turquoise bars and one red on its face. Upon opening, on the inside the background is red with the same graphic but with one red and three white bars. There is no written information on the inside apart from the indication that these are nineteen individual pieces of piano improvisation. This description is included on the back cover as a helpful subtitle for the casual observer. The longest piece of music is just under four minutes while the shortest is very brief at only 58 seconds. I use the term “music” deliberately; these are very “musical” improvisations; no extended technique, Cageian preparation or augmentation with everyday objects here. These nineteen tracks actually work very well if listened to straight through in one sitting and perceived as a whole piece, or a whole movement. Leblanc demonstrates some very technical playing and clearly she is a very accomplished pianist – I think she plays instruments other than piano as well, namely violin, harpsichord, organ, and most interestingly, the Ondes Martenot: an early electronic orchestral instrument. If you are not familiar with the Ondes Martenot, imagine something not unlike a scaled-up Stylophone. And go and source a copy of Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony and be amazed. I’d be very interested to hear her tackle the Ondes with a similar approach to this.

She appears to be involved with an improvising scene in Montreal; I think her initial entry-point some time ago being through free-jazz. She runs the atrito-afeito label with another musician, the improvising drummer, Paulo J Ferreira Lopes. I think Velvet Oddities is a very impressive piece of work with a good flow throughout the course of the album. Indeed, with this many short pieces, I’m sure a lot of thought would have gone into the sequencing of tracks, which benefits the material greatly. It works very well; is very dynamic, and because of the high level of technique, a lot of it is leaning towards – or revealing the influence of – classical piano music more than it is Electro Acoustic Improvisation. But that’s no bad thing. Yeah, I like it. Edition of 100.

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Jazz.pt – Ponto de escuta (Portugal)

March 8 2017 by Rui Eduardo Paes

Karoline Leblanc / Luís Vicente / Hugo Antunes / Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – A Square Meal

A pianista canadiana Karoline Leblanc e o baterista português, mas radicado no Quebec, Paulo Ferreira Lopes são presenças assíduas no MIA –Encontro de Música Improvisada de Atouguia da Baleia, e no mês de Maio de cada ano que vai passando é possível igualmente ouvi-los a tocar com músicos locais em alguns espaços de Lisboa.  “A Square Meal” foi gravado precisamente por essa altura em 2016, no prestigiado estúdio Namouche de Joaquim Monte, com Luís Vicente no trompete e Hugo Antunes no contrabaixo. O mais curioso deste encontro de circunstância é o facto de encontrarmos Leblanc e Ferreira Lopes num contexto mais jazzístico do que lhes é habitual. Regra geral, os seus territórios de acção são as músicas livremente improvisada e experimental, com a primeira a revelar um sólido “backgroung” clássico em tudo o que faz, seja munida de sintetizadores, em formato de piano solo ou a dirigir grandes ensembles.

Poderíamos ser levados a pensar que são as presenças de Vicente e Antunes os “triggers” de tal desenlace, mas o certo é que o jazz está presente no estilo pianístico da protagonista deste encontro (para qualquer lugar onde desviemos a atenção ela está lá, de algum modo), sendo particularmente devedor ao “clustering” de Cecil Taylor. E se ao vivo me ficara antes a impressão de que a sua abordagem pessoal se define pela economia de elementos e pela nuance das abordagens, eis que aqui a encontramos em desenfreada entrega, com um “drive” e uma pujança feitos de síncopes e pulsações que não são menos “groovy” por tenderem para a abstracção e a deflagração rítmica. Nunca se é apenas uma coisa, e este disco tem como valência maior revelar-nos uma outra Karoline Leblanc. […]

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Musicworks magazine #126 (Canada)

Fall 2016

Karoline Leblanc – Velvet Oddities

Leblanc runs the Atrito-Afeito imprint with Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes, and has appeared on four of the six albums issued to date on that label. Previous releases have displayed her considerable skill in sculpting sound with electronic synthesizers (Hypnagogic Cartography 1 and The Aethernauts/Dust Model for an Imperceptible Time) and in organizing large ensembles (with the Total Improvisation Troop). On Velvet Oddities we discover that she is equally talented on solo acoustic piano.

Although eleven of the nineteen pieces clock in under two minutes, while none reach the four-minute mark, fleet fingers allow Leblanc to pack a slew of notes into each number. With no time for wandering, themes are concisely stated and territories expeditiously staked out, strict discipline keeping the ideas in focus. Each track explores subtly different notions, but there is a stylistic unity that suggests an album-length suite. Left-hand bass runs and repeating melodic cells frequently hint at Cecil Taylor’s influence, but this music is more gentle and concise than Taylor’s. If the constant hanging chords and abruptly ending lines seem jarring to newcomers to the music, those more acclimatized to free-jazz piano may find that it streams with a soothing flow. The CD is ideal for early-morning contemplation or late-night decompression, as quiet mingles with disquiet.                 (Lawrence Joseph)

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Discorder magazine (Canada)

July 14 2016 by Dora Dubber

Karoline Leblanc – Velvet Oddities

Québec Great Karoline Leblanc’s Velvet Oddities is a series of 19 brief piano improvisations from her Montréal-based label: atrito-afeito. The LP continues Leblanc’s exploration of sonic freedom and experimentation as she produces inventive and temperate compositions.

Leblanc’s career began as a prominent classical Canadian pianist, playing several world premiers of Canadian composers throughout the ‘90s. But since 1998 Leblanc has been experimenting with traditional free jazz and unrestricted musical expression. She is less known for the result of her stylistic revolution, which is heavily improvised, flighty, protracted, and largely self-produced.

atrito-afeito, releases content made exclusively by Leblanc and Paul J Ferreira Lopes, another Montreal-based artist with a similar interest in innovative musical freedom. The label’s releases are a series of largely improvised collaborations and solo releases. Their group, Total Improvisation Troop (TIT) is self described as a “modular structure for freedom” combining visuals and traditional and contemporary sounds to redefine textual performance with expressive liberty. atrito-afeito is a self-created platform for Leblanc and Lopes to create whatever kind of content interests them, unaffected by typical industry limitations and they have used this opportunity to produce genuinely personal and original music.

Alternating between urgent chords and gentle trills, Leblanc has created a cathartic collection of improvisations in Velvet Oddities. Leblanc’s mastery of pause and suspense on her beautifully paced tracks seduces and soothes the listener. While the tracks range from five minutes to less than one, with most of the songs hovering between two and four, every piece combines dramatic interjections and consistent melodies as Leblanc trips over keys and chords on her own authentic creative odyssey. Leblanc’s position allows her creative and productive freedom and Velvet Oddities is a gratifying addition to her growing repertoire.

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Kathodik (Italy)

June 2 2016 by Marco Carcasi

Karoline Leblanc – Velvet Oddities

Diciannove brevi tracce di improvvisazione per piano di taglio cameristico/contemporaneo.
“Velvet Oddities” è una piacevole digressione rispetto alle astrazioni maggiormente elettroniche, che l’artista di Montreal ci aveva in precedenza proposto.
Attimi convulsi che paiono inarcar la schiena fino a spezzarsi, rattrappimenti e scarse pause riflessive.
Particolarmente efficace, nella sua urgenza di matrice classica/colta europea che a tratti, par assumer le sembianze di un nevrotizzato ragtime.
Una gradita sorpresa “Velvet Oddities” (poi non cosi rigida e severa come si potrebbe immaginare).

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The Sound Projector (UK)

January 1st, 2016 by Ed Pinsent

Anne-F Jacques – Sable ou Sel

SAND GRINDING MACHINE

In same package as previous received from Karoline Leblanc was a copy of Sable Ou Sel (atrito-afeito 004), by the electro-acoustic genius Anne F. Jacques. We’ve heard her before on Montréal Tape Run from her own Crustacés Tapes label, and performing with Tim Olive as Anne-Françoise Jacques on the Dominion Mills album. I’m getting the idea she likes rotating surfaces; while the method behind Sable Ou Sel is not explicitly revealed, it reminds me very much of the effect I used to get on my old Dansette record player from my earliest youth when we forgot to change the needle, or tried using the 78 RPM stylus on a modern micro-groove record. On this 100-copy CD, Jacques makes an aural close-up of an event or events not unlike what I’m describing, and mesmerises us with the relentless power and ominous sense of doom this creates. If Greek mythology was right all along and our destinies are woven for us by three Godesses who handle the threads of Fate, then this is the sound of their cosmic spinning wheel at work – even if such inventions post-date Plato’s Republic. Perhaps Anne-F Jacques sees all of life as a rotating wheel, and our sad existence as futile as that of a hamster morosely carrying on the daily grind. Whatever her world view, it takes some clear-eyed artistic vision to focus so remorselessly on the sonic details that preoccupy her to this degree; the minimalistic vision is presented with incredible focus and determination, blocking out any other possible view. An extremely compelling artistic statement!

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The Sound Projector (UK)

January 1st, 2016 by Ed Pinsent

Karoline Leblanc – The Aethernauts/Dust Model For An Imperceptible Time

MOON OVER MONTREAL

Karoline Leblanc is a musician from Montreal who we first heard as one of the core members of Total Improvisation Troop, and their ensemble work Man Of War earned a tip from Ian Sherred’s hipster beret, who enjoyed the “clangorous, vaguely sinister” vibe. Now here she is with a solo album of synthesiser music created on her Alesis and Moog devices (the former being an item of choice when you want to imitate analogue sounds and behaviours). Both pieces The Aethernauts / Dust Model For An Imperceptible Time could be characterised by their long-form approach, and their overall purity – what we hear is tentative sketching of details on an uncertain abstract canvas, as if fearful of ruining the simplicity of primed white hessian.

Those who enjoy analogue electronics or reasonable simulacrum thereof will enjoy her slow and drifty music, even if there aren’t any especially innovative sounds on offer from her settings, nor does she favour the soggy maximalist mudscapes of Pauline Oliveros. What I do like is the absence of pre-programmed, pre-digested ideas; it does genuinely appear to be music made and performed in real time, and Leblanc is never content to let the machines do half the work for her. On the contrary, it’s more plausible to think that she’s tamed and domesticated them to the extent that they perform like two trained housecats, obediently showing respect and love to their mistress.

The animated film by illustrator and film-maker Frederico Penteado for which The Aethernauts was composed as a soundtrack can be seen on Vimeo or through his own website. But seeing this film can make Leblanc’s music too “narrative” or interpretive, when it’s better enjoyed on its own non-associative terms. More successful for me is Dust Model For An Imperceptible Time, composed in 2015, which is in two parts titled ‘Alluvium’ and ‘Moon Tinge’; through her titles alone, Leblanc evokes vast distances of time and space, and indicates she’s more interested in exploring soil deposits than attempting to account for human civilisation.

I say this to convey something of the epic scale of her work, and the inhuman emptiness of it; it really does appear to have been composed and realised from a very lofty viewpoint, from which we can observe cosmic events unfolding even when we don’t understand what they mean of have any scientific equipment to interpret what we’re seeing. In short – Tangerine Dream’s early works, squared, and compressed to their most basic components.

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Revue & Corrigée (France)

20 Décembre 2015 par Cyrille Lanoë

Karoline Leblanc – The Aethernauts/Dust Model For An Imperceptible Time

Anne-F Jacques – Sable ou Sel

Nouvel essai solo pour KAROLINE LEBLANC avec deux pièces électroniques dont une bande son pour le court métrage “The Aethernauts” réalisé par Frederico Penteado. Aprés Németh et le film “Koi”, voici donc à nouveau sur cette page de la musique pour image. Avant de parler de l’image en question, attardons nous sur le sonore. Un peu comme chez Németh, il nous est donné d’entendre plusieurs pistes en une, avec un va-et-vient électroacoustique mêlant du field-recordings à de la composition linéaire, horizontale, en bourdonnement. Un exercice plutôt inhabituel comparé au reste du catalogue. Une électroacoustique aussi futuriste que les images. Ces images animées en court métrage traitent partiellement de science fiction, d’art plastique, d’un regard interrogatif voire méfiant (ça c’est pour le masque à gaz du personnage principal par exemple) sur le monde urbain et industriel environnant. Une bande son qui a très bien su s’inspirer du film, avec une pointe d’abstraction non négligeable. La deuxième pièce du disque ne se regarde pas. Même si elle reprend ce travail minimaliste, pour l’emmener vers des résonances de sine-wave dans un effet de drone qui fonctionne plutôt bien. Cette pièce en deux parties affirme le travail presque plastique de KAROLINE LEBLANC. L’abstraction toujours en avant, jusque dans le titre “(…) Imperceptible time””, pour une vision bien personnelle des musiques électroacoustiques et acousmatiques, réalisées sur synthétiseur Alesis et Moog. Toujours sur Atrito Afeito, avec un autre CDR usiné tiré à 100 exemplaires, celui d’ANNE F. JACQUES. Un album court avec deux piéces anonymes ou presque, surement “sable” et sel”, d’une dizaine de minutes chacune. Deux pièces sur la vibration, le souffle et la spatialisation. Une électroacoustique mécanique et dynamique à la fois. Cette vibration nait parfois de frottements amplifiés pour se fondre dans des ambiances froides. Nous semblons plongés dans des manipulations d’un dispositif aux sonorités saturées, un mécanisme parfois perturbé dans son fonctionnement par des interventions humaines. Mais c’est assez flou tout ça, n’est-ce pas ? Surement ce qui me plait dans ce disque, une ambiguïté entre composition synthétique et manipulations en temps réel. Ou pas…En tout cas on ne sait pas trop et c’est surement ce qui est bien.

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Decoder Magazine (USA)

October 13 2015 by Bryon Hayes

Anne F Jacques – Sable ou Sel

Karoline Leblanc – The Aethernauts/Dust Model For An Imperceptible Time

Montreal-based label Atrito-Afeito really put their musical microcosm into focus with the release of the Total Improvisation Troop CD-R, and now Paulo J Ferreira Lopes, Karoline Leblanc and their cluster of like-minded adventurers of thorny tonal territories are back. This time, it’s a pair of CD-Rs that are acting as sacramental offerings to those translucent, electrically charged spirits that ring our collective imaginations. Leblanc herself puts forward a pair of synthesizer pieces for her solo recorded debut. The first, “The Aethernauts,” is the soundtrack to an eponymous film created by Frederico Penteado. It’s a wonderfully oblique work that accompanies the dark visual atmosphere perfectly. “Dust Model for an Imperceptible Time” via  is a two-part suite that slowly unfolds over thirty-five minutes, with uncanny synthesizer textures that beam into and out of focus. Coming in at just over twenty minutes, Sable ou Sel — the second CD-R — is a brief taste of Anne-F Jacques’ rotating amplified objects. Sandpaper-like timbres are wrangled from an unknown host of most likely commonplace items, cast by Jacques into a captivating spell that seems to shift in density as it fills whatever space it encounters.

Both of these discs are still available from the label, so hit up both the Discogs page for Leblanc’s synthesizer maelstroms and Jacques’ prickly tectonic activities to score a copy of each.

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Kathodik (Italy)

October 8 2015 by Marco Carcasi

Karoline Leblanc – The Aethernauts/Dust Model For An Imperceptible Time

Tre lunghe composizioni dal Canada, penzolanti fra rintocchi drone music e ricerca elettroacustica.
L’iniziale The Aethernauts, soundtrack per il corto di animazione omonimo del portoghese Frederico Penteado (visionabile su fpenteado.co.uk), a maggior tasso sfrigolante.
Dust Model For An Imperceptible Time suddivisa in due movimenti (Alluvium e Moon Tinge), ad emetter cupe rifrazioni cosmiche, misteriche ma non ostili.
Paesaggi gorgoglianti apparentemente immobili ed ectoplasmi di vibrazioni aliene.
Tutto molto classico, tutto molto ben fatto.

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le son du grisli (France)

Septembre 2015 par Pierre Cécile

Anne F Jacques – Sable ou Sel

Cent copies seulement ? Parfois (c’est le cas pour ce CD d’Anne F Jacques), c’est bien dommage. Mais félicitons / envions sa centaine d’auditeurs, et moquons ceux qui devront se contenter de SonoreNuage (bam, de la trad’, que j’espère bien du Québec).

Maintenant, comment Anne-F. provoque-t-elle ce dommage ? Avec quel instrument ?, je veux dire… Une caisse claire remplie de cordes de contrebasse ? Rien n’est moins sûr. Alors une contrebasse préparée avec un morceau de carton comme ceux que les enfants attachent à l’une des roues de leur vélo avec une pince à linge ? Sans doute non… Des moteurs, alors ? De l’électronique, en fait ?

En tout cas ça gronde et ça craque, sur ces deux pièces d’une dizaine de minutes. Ça a un goût de bois, d’insectes nocturnes et quand on trouve les deux c’est que Jacques passe les deuzes dans un moulin à café. Moi qui raffole de ce genre d’expérience, j’ai enfin trouvé la musique qui va avec !

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Musicworks magazine #122 (Canada)

Summer 2015

Anne F Jacques – Sable ou Sel

Anne F Jacques is a Montreal sound artist who plays acoustic noise-music on invented instruments. Mechanical loops are created when various objects are attached to spinning motors amplified by contact mikes, assemblies that Jacques categorizes as her « rotating devices. » Unlike the digital world of perfect repetition, her improvisations are brought to life by erratic variations arising from the malleable mechanics of her contraptions.

Sable ou Sel contains two tracks labelled simply « A » and « B », each close to eleven minutes in duration. An ever-present pinkish noise background reminds one of listening to a seashell – if one could vary the intensity, which at times threatens to rupture speaker cones with low frequency bursts. Against that backdrop, Jacques adds layers of static sparks and engine grinds, along with more delicate irregular ticks. While this is unmistakably coarse music, it is less harsh compared to the more extreme forms of the industrial genre. Rather than the postapocalyptic cityscape of Eraserhead, we hear the nuts and bolts of small parts being assembled and disassembled, stamped, stapled, and falling to the floor. The overall impression is of a day in a disorganized tack factory located in a highly reverberant silo. While both tracks share similar textures, « B » distinguishes itself through a stiff monochromatic dance-beat towards, the end before fading out with muted percussive knocks and what sounds like a forest of insects. Jacques’ music has a strong physical presence, yet remains playful – a tricky balance pulled off here with finesse. (Lawrence Joseph)

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mink monk pink punk (USA)

September 2015 by Josh Ronsen

Total Improvisation Troop – Man of War

This is an absolutely stunning large ensemble from Montreal, featuring some fourteen creative musicians I have never heard of, most of them playing multiple instruments, acoustic and electric, and some, Slava Egorov and James Annett, playing “home made electric lyre” and “modified bulbul tarang.” Trombones, double basses, pianos are no less welcome. All live hometown performances, the six tracks span from the jungle-like calls and textures of “Salmagundi” to the thirty minute title track, spreading tentacles of energy in eight different directions. Parts of this sound like they were lifted from a 1972 ESP LP, just wonderfully eclectic and impressive. Drummer Paulo J Ferreira Lopes and keyboardist/percussionist/etc. Karoline Leblanc may be the leaders, or at least organizers of the group. The music sounds egalitarian, everyone working to make everything as interesting as possible.

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le son du grisli (France)

Avril 2015 par Luc Bouquet

Troupe d’Improvisation Totale – Man of War

Tout est dans le libellé : TIT (Total Improvisation Troop ou Troupe d’Improvisation Totale). Réunis autour de la pianiste Karoline Leblanc, une quinzaine de musiciens improvisateurs affrontent la matière. Toutes et tous accrochés à une horizontalité anxiogène, ils ne vont que rarement instruire le crescendo mais plutôt entretenir une couleur avant de lui dessiner de fines nuances.

Man of War est le premier set d’un concert donné à la Sala Rossa de Montréal en décembre 2012. La matière est solide et ne verse pas dans la surenchère. Une trompette (Paul Serralheiro) s’affranchit du territoire puis laisse les guitares (Alex Pelchat, David Dugas Dion, Alexandre Corbeil) envahir le cercle. Après une (re)tombée en silence, l’improvisation retrouve l’angoisse originelle, les miaulements d’un saxophone lointain (Geneviève Gauthier) attisant quelques frayeurs bien (re)senties. Plongées ligetiennes et saillies métalliques seront convoquées le temps de courts extraits de deux concerts donnés quelques mois plus tard à la Brique, toujours à Montréal. A suivre, me semble-t-il…

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Revue & Corrigée (France)

Mars 2015 par Cyrille Lanöe

Troupe d’Improvisation Totale – Man of War

Le label montréalais Atrito-Afeito augmente la cadence et sort son troisième disque. Après deux soli ou presque par Paulo J Ferreira Lopes et Karoline Leblanc, c’est ensemble qu’ils créent une Troupe d’Improvisation Totale en 2011. A leur initiative, ils ont monté ce projet de seize musiciens d’horizons aussi variés que l’électroacoustique, l’électronique et le free-jazz. Dans cette impression de retour à la pratique en ensemble (mon dernier exemple en tête est le Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit), nous assistons à un bel exemple de cette approche du matériau, d’approche de la verticalité sonore en groupe, mêlant leurs horizons dans une balade sonore douce comme sait le faire le trombone sur cette très longue belle première pièce, « Man of War », de plus de trente minutes. Ce qui laisse alors une petite demie heure aux deux autres pièces, « Titanum alloy » et « Tit is a bird ». L’oiseau est d’ailleurs une belle image à cette balade sonore dont je parlais. C’est assez aérien effectivement. On retrouve cette fraîcheur d’un autre endroit montréalais de pratique collective, mais dans un esprit plus rock, La Casa del Popolo. En premier lieu dans un esprit plus jazz. Dans un second temps sur des nappes électroniques minimales, puis sur des boucles électroacoustiques proches d’un autre ensemble, le Mimeo, pour terminer sur une note plus contemporaine, plus tonale.

La dernière pièce laisse parler les cordes sur « Clothesline ». Un très beau moment acoustique attrayant. Tout comme sa collègue « Bird’s eye view », qui clôture la chose dans une improvisation libre hypnotique. Je risque de me répéter mais il se passe des choses intéressantes sur ce label, encore une fois.

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The Sound Projector (UK)

March 12 2015 by Ian Sherred

Total Improvisation Troop – Man of War

Man of War from the Total Improvisation Troop, who aren’t afraid to use the acronym TIT. Rightly so. After all, as one section of this CD informs us, “Tit Is A Bird”, and much of this music sounds like the contact calls of an amorphous, roving flock, although not one containing any birds you’re likely to see at your peanut feeder. TIT can also stand for “Titanium Alloy”, which is the other pole of the group’s sound – metallic, clangorous, vaguely sinister.

Man of War comprises six tracks taken from live performances across various venues during 2012/2013. The title track is 33 minutes long, and is surprisingly delicate and diffuse given its martial name, almost fading away to silence at one point. The following three tracks are the “Titanium Alloy” selection, including ‘Lacemakers in Bedlam’, which should give you an idea of the sound, if you bear in mind that the lace is being made with metal wire. Finally, we have the “Tit Is A Bird” section, two tracks which lie somewhere in the middle of the TIT spectrum.

The recording features 16 musicians overall, playing everything from electric guitar, trumpet and trombone to hair clippers and cookie tins, all wrapped up with lots of electronics. The nucleus of the group seems to be Karoline Leblanc (synthesizers, gongs) and Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes (drums), but this really is an ensemble piece. Everybody joins in, everybody is given space to play, nobody grandstands or shows off.

Clearly, there are some good nights out to be had in Montreal for anyone who enjoys free improvisation. Encouraging evidence of a vibrant and healthy scene.

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Kathodik (Italy)

February 22 2015 by Marco Carcasi

Total Improvisation Troop – Man of War

Concepito nel 2011, il TIT (Total Improvisation Troop) è ampio laboratorio strumentale dedito alla ricerca elettroacustica/impro jazz.
“Man Of War” raccoglie sei tracce estratte da tre live tenuti in quel di Montreal.
Belle ammucchiate umane dove tutto par sufficientemente sotto controllo.
Nessun accatastamento (casuale/scriteriato).
Materiali acustici lasciati fluir liberamente, qualche scontro inevitabile, ampie zone di non distensiva riflessione.
Brandelli di tradizione jazz, innestati su azioni collettive di raschiante concretezza, tra pigolamenti e traforazioni assortite.
Moduli espressivi ad incastro e contaminazione rugginosa fra generi.
Tira una bell’aria in quel di Montreal.
Daje!

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Decoder Magazine (USA)

January 20 2015 by Bryon Hayes

Total Improvisation Troop – Man of War

In the late 1960s, a number of pioneering ensembles sprouted up in England, focused around the notion of free improvisation. AMM and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble are probably the most notable, yet it was the less conspicuous People Band that really took to the idea of total freedom in music, and pushed even that notion to its extreme. Always changing and growing, blurring the boundaries of what “instruments” and “audience members” were, this cabal of merry maniacs has almost been forgotten. A couple CDs available from the Emanem label are all that remains of the group’s recorded output, although they still perform to this day.

The Montreal-based Total Improvisation Troop takes the torch from that enigmatic English ensemble and reinvigorates it with a modern sensibility. Incorporating electronics, toys and traditional instruments from both the jazz idiom and other cultures, this gang – whose membership is malleable but is centred around multi-instrumentalist Karoline Leblanc – really engages with the spirit of total musical freedom. Man of War documents three of the Troop’s performances from around Montreal between 2012 and 2013. The title track is a lengthy set of fiery free jazz banged out by a dozen skilled improvisors. The three-part “Titanium Alloy” is a bleary-eyed, gelatinous noise-scape that swells with electronic glee. Somewhere in between these two extremes lies “Tit is a Bird,” in which the group attempt to recreate a horror film soundtrack from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. This really is essential listening…

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Kathodik (Italy)

October 31 2014 by Marco Carcasi

Karoline Leblanc & Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – Hypnagogic Cartography 1

Acuta sperimentazione elettroacustica, organizzata in lunghe stringhe elettronico/dronanti (dal forte aroma kraut), inframezzate/disturbate da intromissioni di pulviscolo noise e rapidi sommovimenti glitch.
La canadese Karoline Leblanc, ai synth e al piano, il portoghese Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes a mixare, tagliare e cucire.
Stati di (sinistra) quiete, al cui interno brulicano insetti dispettosi e ronzanti.
Materiali acustici in lenta deformazione, che si offrono volentieri, come una sorta di collage di fake field recordings (di cui in realtà, non vi è traccia alcuna).
Una calibrata esposizione di processi istantanei (in asciutto montaggio da contemporanea), di notevole fascinazione allucinatoria (con a staccarsi dal resto, il veloce intermezzo per solo piano di Dichotomic Syntony).
Progressioni descrittive increspate, non proprio rassicuranti.
La Oliveros di un tempo, una pacca sulle spalle gliela darebbe.
Evita piuttosto in scioltezza il tipico effetto tappezzeria.
Non male e in bella edizione limitata.
Fatevi sotto.

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Revue & Corrigée  (France)

Septembre 2014 par Cyrille Lanoë

Karoline Leblanc et Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – Hypnagogic Cartography 1

Après un solo remarqué, Paulo J Ferreira LOPES s’accompagne ici de Karoline LEBLANC pour un duo aux sonorités « planantes ». Ici on s’affaire aux ambiances, aux textures, là ou en solo, Paulo s’entretenait plus au jeu. Le terme « hypnagogic » a été journalistiquement inventé par David Keenan (ah ces journalistes anglais!) en 2009 pour désigner une pop synthétiquement folk et presque krautrock futuriste (invention pour remplir des pages du Wire ou réel nouveau courant ? je penche pour la première impression, sans sous estimer les groupes associés bien évidemment, dont Sun Araw, Ariel Pink…). Bref on est pas là pour parler de ça mais vous aurez bien compris le lien avec le titre de ce disque dont on parle. On est bien ici dans le planant, lien avec cette « scène ». Quatre pièces au synthétiseur, mêlant nappes, signaux et strates ondulantes à quelques fréquences à bon escient. Trois courtes, et une dernière longue pièce majeure de presque 27 minutes. Du minimalisme ambiant que l’on retrouve parfois chez Experimental Audio Research. Une place au silence est souvent laissée, de vraies respirations à ces ambiances toutes aussi exploratrices que futuristes. J’aime bien cette ambiguïté où l’on pourrait se croire à la fois chez Sonic Boom et Thomas Lehn (en moins frénétique). Sonic Boom, Experimental Audio Research, des artistes entre la musique pop (ou un certain attrait ou regard pour celle-ci) et les expérimentations stagnantes, finalement ne serait-ce pas aussi de l’ « hypnagogic pop » ? Un bien bel essai néanmoins, aussi discret que remarquable. Presque contemporain.

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Vital Weekly #936 week 24 (Netherlands)

June 2014 by Frans de Waard

Karoline Leblanc & Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – Hypnagogic Cartography 1

The music seems to be all electronic and quite moody, but not in a regular sort of drone way. Leblanc seems to me is more an improvising mind, with perhaps a love for all things modern classical. That is most apparent in that one track that uses the piano, the short ‘Dichotomic Syntony’. In the other piece it’s all more electronic and highly moody, but also quite playful. That’s something I quite enjoy actually. It stretches the boundaries of your perception a bit more. Oh yes, it’s a bit ambient like, but hang on, there seems to be more to it. That sort of thing. It works out very nicely… a most pleasant release. (FdW)

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Chain D.L.K. (USA)

June 17 2014 by eskaton

Paulo J Ferreira Lopes- Feeze

I was unfamiliar with this Montreal-based Portuguese artist, but he has worked with a host of choreographers, multimedia artists, filmmakers, sound and visual artists, vocalists, and musicians. The label, which is run by Lopes and longtime collaborator pianist Karoline Leblanc, had little commentary on this disc, so let’s dive in to the music. This is some interesting electronic music that is difficult to classify. At times it is noisy (‘Recept’, Destino’), other times it relies on heavy, pulsating drone (‘Eventualidade’, ‘Norte’), and still other times it has a kind of glitchiness that is endearing (‘Premonition’, ‘Capsule’, ‘Post’). However, at other times it just went on a bit too long without really going anywhere (‘Transeunt’). Still, if you like your music with a lot of noisy electronic blips and bleeps, this is made just for you. I didn’t find this album to be something that would be too far out there for more mainstream listeners who are just getting into edgier music. It’s challenging, of course, but this isn’t an Ant-Zen release from Merzbow. Not a bad introduction to the artist or the label. This album weighs in at around 39 minutes and limited to 150 copies.

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Musicworks magazine #118 (Canada)

Spring 2014

Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – Feeze

Paulo J Ferreira Lopes is a Montreal drummer and coconspirator behind Total Improvisation Troop. Feeze collects ten tracks for Roland Jupiter-4 analog synthesizer and reel-to-reel tape,  thus revealing another side of Lopes, who has also worked with choreographers and visual artists and in sound theatre.  It was recorded one bleak winter in 2000, and its cover art has a fuzzy white wave floating through a stark black background, an apt metaphor for this restless nocturnal music.  Although most tracks are constructed around throbbing electronic motifs and burly textures, the lack of samplers and drum machines gives the music a decidedly human vibe. Careful layering of fresh material through time reveals true compositions, not just a collage of cyclic riffs. The longest track, at just under seventeen minutes, is ”transeunt”, a flickering hypnotic drone of snaps and pads. The title track is the only one with live percussion, conjuring up a gnarling swirl of menacing madness. Feeze skates the icy edge between dark industrial and avant-ambient, while paradoxically remaining warm and inviting. (Lawrence Joseph)

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Revue & Corrigée (France)

Février 2014 par Cyrille Lanoë

Paulo J Ferreira Lopes  – Feeze

PAULO J FERREIRA LOPES est un batteur portugais basé à Montréal. Il vient de fonder avec Karoline Leblanc le label Atrito-afeito. La première réalisation est un cd d’un de ses solo. Un essai daté de 2000 sur synthé analogique, bandes, effets et batterie, naviguant dans les sphères des musiques ambiant, vintage et forcément Kosmiche Muziek. Un peu à la manière de ce que l’on a pu entendre sur les K7 Kommanull d’Enregistrement Temporaire ou Häk. Le spectre des musiques électroniques est quant à lui bien présent et me permet de faire le parallèle avec Brou de Noix entre autres. Mais aussi pourquoi pas, avec celui des soundscapes de Rafael Anton Irisarri. Sachant aussi improviser, il n’en est pourtant pas question ici. La batterie quant à elle n’est présente que sur l’unique morceau éponyme, une forme courte de krautrock répétitif réussi. Il ouvre des espaces cotonneux, rassurants, sur la pièce centrale d’un gros quart d’heure “Transeunt”, une ritournelle minimale toute en lègéreté, proche de productions allemandes du label Kompakt, plutôt affilié à la techno minimale avec quelques excursions dans les musiques ambiant. Un label d’ailleurs référence à l’époque de l’enregistrement de ce “Feeze”.

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a closer listen (Canada)

November 28 2013 by Joseph Sannicandro

Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – Feeze

The inaugural release from Atrito-Afeito, a new Montreal-based label specializing in small runs of improvised music.  For Feeze, drummer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and sound artist Paulo J Ferreira Lopes has crafted 10 compositions culled from synth explorations recorded in Montreal back in 2000.  Ferreira Lopes began playing music over 30 years ago in his native Portugal, limiting his live performances to contexts that privilege the act of improvisation.  That which works in a live ensemble might not always transfer well to a recording, but Ferreira Lopes is able to transfer his long experience into highly compelling electronic worlds.

Feeze presents a diverse series of  sonic landscapes ranging from skittering rhythms to lumbering drones.  The opening track “Eventualidade” builds gradually from a low flutter to a high-pitched whistle, fading out ever so gradually.  I’m reminded a bit of Gas, though instead of encountering a rave in the forest, the muffled sounds recall something more like hearing an alarm from across a loft party while in a hazy state of inebriation.   The eponymous track begins much more kinetically, and truly sounds like a percussionists sensibility behind the module.  The underlying beat isn’t quite predictable but is regular enough to drive the track forward and ground the wanderings going on above, perhaps not unlike a freer, blurry version of Harmonia.  In fact, much of the album recalls aspects of the proto-industrial work of Conrad Schnitzler, Klaus Schulze, even some Moebius & Plank… that is, the best of German kosmische music, though minus the discreet drum programming.  Occasionally some of the pieces even suggest techno, such as the plodding “Dance,” though even these tracks are far too abstract for the dance floor.  Rather the rhythmic elements give Ferreira Lopes an element to build tension against, and serve to structure the album as a whole.  Many of the tracks, such as “Premonition, ”  are quite short, around one to three minutes in length, though they seem even shorter.  These compositions do not wear out their welcome, but rather leave the listener craving more.   They drift slowly, establishing a sense of place but not lingering too long.  “Premonition” paves the way for “Norte,”  the second longest track at 6:19, lumbering unhurriedly, slow and arrhythmic but maintaining a quality of levity.

Under a low pulse, the high end flutters suggestively in “Capsule,” quickly transitioning into the lower tones, skimming the surface of “Recept” before crashing out.  These imagist false starts were just setting the stage for the cornerstone of the album.  At 16:50, “Transuent” occupies almost half the 40 minute disk.  Whereas the previous tracks were content to fade back into the void after establishing a mood or image, here Ferreira Lopes pushes the plateau to the breaking point.  Not reliant on dynamics, instead “Transuent” slowly cycles through repetitive cycles in a deeply meditative way that has no relation to the techniques of “New Age” synth music.  The final two tracks, “Destino” and “Post,” are a fitting denouement.  “Destino” ratchets up the tension in a near abrasive drone, and “Post” lumbers to life, increasing in frenetic activity right up until the curtain drops.

Though the sessions that produced this album are now 13 years old, they’re certainly worthy of a proper release.  Considering the recent renewed interest in analogue synth music (forgotten legends like JD Emmanuel and young upstarts like 0PN and Emeralds), Feeze is sure to find a dedicated audience, inviting repeat listens, and probably remixes as well.  Keep an eye on this label.

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Vital Weekly #903 week 43 (Netherlands)

October 24 2013 by Frans de Waard

PAULO J FERREIRA LOPES – FEEZE (CDR by Atrito-Afeito)

On both accounts here new names. Both the label, for which is their inaugural release, and the artist are for me new names. The release looks great with a silk screened slipcase… Music wise Lopes taps into the field of electronic music, which crosses various genres, such as techno music – be it not always with dance able rhythms, but repeated blocks of sound anyway – electronic music from the sixties, but without the notion of longer compositions. Lopes’ pieces are more alike improvisations, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that was otherwise, and in most of the pieces he keeps his stuff together and relatively brief. That makes this quite a vivid and diverse release…synthesizer doodles and occasional feedback like sounds being played with a fine sense of micro melody. Hardly abstract at all, and throughout most pleasantly listening music. Not too difficult or academic, but nicely refreshing. (FdW)

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Cult Montreal (Canada)

October 30 – December 4 2013 vol.2 no.4

Paulo J Ferreira Lopes – Feeze (atrito-afeito)

This is the debut release from a new Montreal-based label specializing in small runs of improvised music. For Feeze, Ferreira Lopes has crafted 10 compositions culled from synth explorations recorded in Montreal back in 2000, a diverse series of sonic landscapes ranging from skittering rhythms to lumbering drones, and one that’s certainly worthy of a proper release. Considering the recent renewed interest in analogue synth music (forgotten legends like JD Emmanuel and young upstarts like 0PN and Emeralds), Feeze is sure to find a dedicated audience. (Joseph Sannicandro)

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