"One second is a long time in the life of a poem," writes Patrice Desbiens in what serves as an introduction to his record's booklet. In this case, the 57 minutes and 41 seconds of this CD should extend the life of the poet's work. René Lussier wanted to record the poet reading his texts in an improvisational context. The guitarist recruited three Ambiances Magnétiques colleagues: Jean Derome (flutes, alto sax, bird calls), Guillaume Dostaler (synths), and Pierre Tanguay (drums). Desbiens christened this back-up band "Les Moyens du Bord" ("Available Means"). In March 1996, they recorded a string of poems, culled from the poet's dozen books published at the time. The urban lyricism of Desbiens evokes a more Montrealistic Richard Desjardins, or a slanging Jacques Prévert, and is greatly accommodated by these improvised soundtracks. At times only an ambience, at others a driving groove, the music anchors the poem into the ground by interacting with it, keeping the listener ready to catch every syllable and turning this experience into something very enjoyable for those who can understand French (and quite puzzling for the less fortunate). Since Patrice Desbiens et les Moyens du Bord is filled with the typical Ambiances Magnétiques avant-garde humor, it feels less serious (and dark) than other creative music/poetry meetings like Robert Creeley's Have We Told You All You'd Thought to Know?, or Maurice Dantec's Schizotrope: The Life and Death of Marie Zorn, which makes it all the more refreshing. The CD is packaged in a spiral notebook with all poems reproduced.
AllMusic Review by François Couture