Le Magasin de Tissu is Jean Derome's first solo album, and although he conceived and performed it all by himself, it is hardly your average saxophone solo record. Then again, Derome is hardly your average saxophonist, even by avant-garde music standards. He plays only a few minutes of his primary instrument. Most of his attention is devoted to the wide array of small instruments he has been using on-stage and on record over the years. Harmonicas, tiny bells, bird calls, piccolo flute, hand percussion, and unqualifiable knickknacks provide most of the music. Derome improvised on 69 of them for about 90 seconds and transferred the results to three CDs, adding tracks of silence at the end. Then he played back the CDs in three players on random mode simultaneously and inserted indexes where suitable. On paper it seems arbitrary, even hazardous, but the result is both stunning and exhilarating. No matter what you heard from the musician before, his duet with René Lussier, his work with Fred Frith, his jazz outfit, Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, or his large-scale projects, Le Magasin de Tissu reveals him in his true, condensed essence. He may be presenting the project as a catalog of his favorite sounds, but listening to this CD has nothing to do with leafing through the contents of a department store bible. As Derome improvises with Derome, the listener is treated to dead-serious pieces performed on very funny instruments. The booklet contains a flowchart and photographs of each object to help trace back the sources. Le Magasin de Tissu is a testimony to Derome's limitless creativity and the best example of his uncanny genius. Strongly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture