Joane Hétu, saxophonist, vocalist, and driving force behind the bands Wondeur Brass and Justine, leader of Castor et Compagnie, and head of the Ambiances Magnétiques label offered her first solo record after almost 20 years of career. Seule Dans les Chants (a play of words on "Alone in the fields" and "Alone in the Songs," the two words being homophonous in French) took two and a half years to record. This is a hyper-personal album (as one speaks of hyper-realistic art). So personal the listener at times feels he should not be here. Hétu is scorchingly naked in improvisations combining all aspects of her playing, on both alto saxophone and voice. Strangely, this stripping down brings out her limitations. That being said, one can feel the artist in every note, scream, or sound. These are not "real" improvisations, though. She recorded a lot of material and recombined it, composing new works from bits and pieces (the process is more obvious on "Chants Portuaires" where multiple saxophones are heard). Going from minimalist saxophone complaints to vocal experimentation à la Jaap Blonk, Seule Dans les Chants is an intimate and intimidating record.
AllMusic Review by François Couture