L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus

Maison Douce Maison

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L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus' second Ambiances Magnétiques CD ups the energy ante higher than the band's initial release, in what might at first seem an impossible task. This is accomplished in part by the composing, arranging, and playing, but also by the production and recording, which are considerably punchier than on the previous T'auras Pas ta Pomme. Some personnel changes must also be noted, with original trumpeter/flugelhornist Ivanhoe Jolicoeur replaced by the hot Maxime Saint-Pierre and tenor saxophonist Paul Richer with Roberto Murray. Still, the instrumentation remains virtually identical with leader Claude Saint-Jean (trombone), Jean-Denis Levasseur (alto sax, piccolo, clarinet), Jean Sabourin (sousaphone), and Rémi Leclerc (drums) all present and accounted for. On much of the CD the band locks into rhythms so fast, furious, and funky that they seem on the verge of an explosion. The Sabourin-Leclerc team bursts out of the speakers on this recording; they have been moved forward in the mix and might be the world's first sousaphone-drum pairing that would not be out of place blasting from a boom car. Other touches hint at the band's movement in a more urban, contemporary direction -- a sometimes dirty, distorted sound and occasional spaciousness that lets the horn and reed players more fully engage in timbral exploration. A highlight is "Rayons," which begins with subtlety and then flat out rocks through a beautifully dramatic buildup to a finale that evaporates into clouds of burning improvisation. L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus may have found a highly successful formula, but a track like "Rayons" shows that the band is prepared to bend their own rules, discovering new and exciting approaches to express their talents.

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