Robert Marcel Lepage

Chants et Danses du Monde Inanimé

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The first release by Montreal label Ambiances Magnétiques (even though René Lussier's self-released LP Fin du Travail (Version 1) would be later renumbered AM 000), Chants et Danses du Monde Inanimé (Songs and Dances of the Inanimate World) introduced two musicians that would become the avant-garde label's most popular artists: clarinetist Robert M. Lepage and guitarist René Lussier. The LP was presented as an ethnomusical document of a species from the "age of the machines," and was released in a series (of one) titled "Species on the Verge of Exception." Chants et Danses du Monde Inanimé presents duets between Lepage and Lussier. Some contain overdubs, some are improvised, most are composed, at least in part. Lepage's extended clarinet techniques and distinctive plaintive tone paired with klezmeresque inflections brings seriousness to Lussier's irreverent playing. "Chiens de Garde Culturels" (Cultural Watch Dogs) is typical Lussier material, a bouncy tune with foot rhythms and a tortured melody, something that sounds very similar to what his duo Les Granules (with saxophonist Jean Derome) will do in the late '80s. "Saisie de Données" (Data Capture) is in the same vein. "Beyrouth, à Défaut d'Être Mort" (Beyrouth, for Lack of Being Dead) is more poignant with its composed Arabic melody, improvisation pockets, and overall requiem-like atmosphere. This album launched a new sound and marked the birth of the "musique actuelle" scene in Montreal, while still remaining musically relevant and enjoyable today. It has been reissued on CD in 1996 with newly recorded studio material.

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