Mecha Fixes Clocks

Orbiting With Screwdrivers

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Mecha Fixes Clock may very well replace Bruire as Michel F. Côté's best project, and Orbiting with Screwdrivers is without a doubt the man's strongest release since Bruire's L'Âme de l'objet, a longtime ago. Between the two, Côté, one of Montreal's prime experimental musicians, had been very active with the collective improv trio Klaxon Gueule, besides releasing collections of incidental music and various tidbits. Orbiting with Screwdrivers is a true return to form for Côté. The album grew out of collective improvisations with many of Montreal's finest -- including Diane Labrosse, Martin Tétreault, Bernard Falaise, Jean Derome, Christof Migone, Jacques Drouin, and Nemo Venba. Côté has taken these improvisations and reorchestrated them in the studio, into complex yet highly focused pieces. In a tour de force unprecedented in Côté's career, the music retains the evocative power and purposefulness of Bruire's, but also the soft-spoken freedom and imagination of Klaxon Gueule's. "Disability for E Motion," "Mechanism's Rarely Last," and "Nano Rotary for Nothing" -- respectively featuring violist Jean René, guitarist Bernard Falaise, and pianist Jacques Drouin -- provide the finest moments of the set, thanks to particularly meticulous constructions and arrangements that blur distinctions between composition for real instrument, improvisation, and electro-acoustic composition. A labor of love, but most of all the manifestation of an artist who always had a knack for sculpting unusual musical sense out of makeshift parts, this album stands among the finest releases of 2005 and will get any Côté fan's hopes up for more to come. Call it "cinema for the ear" if you will, but considering the odd beauty of the music, this reviewer would rather call it "songs of sounds."

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