Four Focuses

Martin Tétreault

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Four Focuses Review

by François Couture

At the core of Four Focuses is a concert recorded in September 1997 at the Now Music Festival. Montreal experimental turntablist Martin Tétreault was invited that year and performed with Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, and Yasuhiro Otani. The people at Amoebic Records selected one solo performance by the guest and one duo track with each of the three Japanese improvisers. Interpolated between the Tétreault pieces are three solos from them, recorded in other circumstances, some in the studio (Otani), others live (Sachiko M. and Yoshihide) in April and May 1998. At this time, the Ground Zero leader was still using turntables as his primary working tool, Sachiko M. focused on the sampler (she was only just starting to experiment with the sine wave generator) and Tétreault was deep into what could be termed his "Califone period," during which he was performing with three Califone turntables, using prepared records sparsely, preferring to play directly with the machine, sticking the needle in the motor, putting a condom over the needle and letting it rub on the turning plate, etc. Yet, his solo "Look" sounds rich, cheerful, and highly intriguing. His duo with Sachiko M., "See," is also one of the highlights, while Otani's computer performances fail to captivate. As for Yoshihide's "Ear," suffice to say the sound of feedbacking turntables will peel the paint off your walls. Four Focuses was laid over an interesting collaboration concept and captures four cutting-edge artists at a turning point of their evolution, when experimental sound making (DJs, samplers) was being pushed in the back by the emerging generation of laptop players.

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