Raôul Duguay


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Raôul Duguay's third solo album is very difficult to comment on. It stands aside everything else he's recorded before and after. A sequence of songs recorded with an orchestra, it represents his most avant-gardist work since his days with L'Infonie, but at the same time it remains almost listener-friendly. That is to say the album occupies an uneasy position: too song-oriented for a modern classical work and too strange for a pop thing. Ex-Infonie guru and contemporary classical composer Walter Boudreau is responsible for most of the arrangements and orchestrations. Duguay develops his usual themes of universal love and transcendence -- what would become his new age credo a few years later. The mystical topics, esoteric song titles (like "M (û) (e)," "Trans'M," and "L'L"), naïve melodies (see "Papilllôn"), and awkward chord resolutions make for a very unusual concoction, even by avant-garde standards, like Harmonium's L'Heptade as if it was orchestrated by Pierre Boulez. There is no "La Bittt à Tibi," no "Marlô," and no "Le Vôyage" here. "Le Temps" pairs church organ with tablas, while "Lîl" puts orchestra and a chorus up front. The whole project is disconcerting no matter how you approach it. It doesn't have the strength of Duguay's previous efforts, but then again it can hardly be considered on the same level. Fans of L'Infonie will be offset by the melodies and spiritual topics; fans of Duguay are in for a very different ride.

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