This CD was an event: the first live album from the Ambiances Magnétiques label in almost ten years, and the only album ever to be credited to the Ambiances Magnétiques artists' collective. Recorded in February 1992 at the Maison de la Culture Frontenac in Montreal, the CD presents performances from all eight members of the collective at the time: founders René Lussier, Jean Derome, André Duchesne, and Robert Marcel Lepage; 1986 inductees Diane Labrosse, Danielle Palardy Roger, and Joane Hétu; and 1988 last addition Michel F. Côté. The album opens and closes on two ensemble pieces. "Ambulances en Plastique" is a Derome-penned rock fanfare, while "Montréal, 7 A.M." bears the typical rock guitar-driven Duchesne stamp. This fantastic guitarist/composer worked so rarely in the 1990s that every bit of material is a delight to hear. Between these two pieces, five Ambiances Magnétiques groups show their chops. Duchesne's Locomotive plays renditions of three tracks from its CD. Côté's Bruire delivers two very nice improvs in the same direction as its second album Les Fleurs de Léo. Two tracks from the all-girl group Justine are mostly improvised, although the first one is recognizable as "Vidanges Domestiques" from the Langages Fantastiques CD. The album's highlight is Les Granules' 13-minute suite "Le Bizarre Échevelé," a never-recorded piece and the last thing Lussier and Derome's duo put on disc. It's a pity that the two tracks from La Flore Laurentienne are the only crumbs remaining from this Lepage project; the music is a very good blend of extended clarinet techniques and a more rock/techno approach. Une Théorie Des Ensembles is a very enjoyable CD that adds valuable material to these artists' discographies.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture