Victoriaville Matiere Sonore

Various Artists

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Victoriaville Matiere Sonore Review

by François Couture

In 2006, part-time Montreal resident Francisco López gave a workshop on field recording in that city, the result of which was a sound installation and a CD entitled Montreal Sound Matter (Pogus, 2006). On an invitation from the Victoriaville FIMAV Festival, the seven original participants reconvened under López's direction to repeat and improve on the formula. Hélène Prévost, Mathieu Lévesque, and Steve Heimbecker went to Victoriaville to make field recordings they later shared with the other participants. This time, though, a sequence (the same that appears on this disc) was pre-established, so that each participant could work with the previous participant's completed piece, thus creating a certain level of cohesion. The tracks are not remixes of one another, but each does freely pick up from where the previous track had ended. The result is a good -- not great -- album of mid-length electro-acoustic pieces (roughly nine minutes each) featuring a unifying theme but letting individual personalities shine through. For example, the contribution from morceaux_de_machines' a_dontigny is quite busy (though far from the sample-noise-core his band is known for); Louis Dufort's piece ("Materio_***," also available on his 2008 DVD Matériaux Composés) weights heavy in the bass register; Hélène Prévost's "VSM" is language-focused (a recurring theme in her work), and López's "Untitled #202" is...typical López. More surprising are Tomas Phillips' disappearing act (the evanescent "Gray.White"), and Mathieu Lévesque's "Vers l'Exformance," a piece taking a few steps aside from the field recordings to focus on feedback, in a (successful) attempt to extirpate itself from the album's overall focus. Victoriaville Matière Sonore was an interesting project on paper, that turned into a lackluster live concert, to end its course as an enjoyable though a bit uneven record.

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