Marc Tremblay

Québécois electroacoustic music has earned a place in the hearts of avant-garde music lovers everywhere… electrocd.com, Québec

Il faut savoir gré au label canadien empreintes DIGITALes de proposer un catalogue de musiques électroacoustiques de qualité… Peace Warriors, France

Prix Opus 1999-2000: Disque de l’année — Finaliste

  • Canada Council for the Arts • SODEC

CD (IMED 9949)

  • Label: empreintes DIGITALes
  • IMED 9949
  • 1999
  • UCC 771028994922
  • Total duration: 71:04
  • Opak
  • 127 mm × 142 mm × 10 mm
  • 55 g

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If there is a disruptive element in every search for harmony it is bruit — noise: innocuous noise, bothersome noise, undesirable and pointless noise, the noise that continually brings us back to the transience of the passing moment.

Noise is the child of chaos. It confronts us daily and can come to symbolize all that is accidental in life.

It was by listening to noise over a period of years that I came to realize the immense expressive potential of these sounds. I love to discover the poetry in the noise that surrounds us. I try to compose using objects that transmit sounds, to conceive music that becomes the esthetic extension of noise. In this sense, the director Jean-Pierre Ronfard is correct when he says that “les objets parlent!” (Objects Speak!) — the title of a play presented in the fall of 1986 at Espace libre in Montréal).

The pieces presented here are the summation of years of work. In them I have explored the dense forest of object-noises that scratch and squeal, much like graffiti cover walls that are often just too clean.

Marc Tremblay, Montréal [xii-99]

Some recommended items
In the press

Electroacoustics, the Quebecois Way

François Couture, electrocd.com, March 22, 2004

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right? Wrong — at least when it comes to electroacoustics, the beautiful province of Quebec compares very well to any other region of the world. Call me chauvinistic, I don’t care: Quebec is home to several composers of tremendous talent and influential professors.

My goal is not to turn this article in an analytical essay, but, as a music reviewer and unstoppable listener, I am convinced that there is such a thing as Québécois electroacoustics. Despite the stylistic variety among our composers, I detect a Québécois “sound,” something that sounds to me neither British nor French or German; something that calls to me and speaks to me in a language more immediate and easier to understand.

This “unity in diversity” is probably, at least in part, due to the lasting influence of a small number of key composers whose academic teachings have shaped our younger generations. I am thinking first and foremost of Francis Dhomont and Yves Daoust. So let’s begin this sound path with a Frenchman so Québécois at heart that he was awarded a prestigious Career Grant from the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec. I can sincerely recommend all of Dhomont’s albums: his graceful writing, his narrative flair and his intelligence turn any of his works into fascinating gems. I have often publicly expressed my admiration for Forêt profonde (including in my first Sound Path, so I will skip it this time), but Sous le regard d’un soleil noir, his first large-scale work, remains an international classic of electroacoustic music, and his more recent Cycle du son shows how close to perfection his art has grown — the piece AvatArsSon in particular, my first pick for this Sound Path.

If Dhomont’s music is often constructed following large theoretical, literary and sociological themes, Yves Daoust’s works lean more toward poetry and the anecdote. Most of his pieces betray his respect for the abstractionist ideals of the French school, but his seemingly naive themes (water, crowds, a Chopin Fantasia or a childhood memory) empower his music with an unusual force of evocation. His latest album, Bruits, also displays a willingness to grow and learn. One is tempted to hear the influence of his more electronica-savvy students in the startling title triptych.

To those two pillars of Quebec electroacoustics, I must add the names of Robert Normandeau and Gilles Gobeil. Normandeau is a very good example of what I consider to be the “typical” Québécois sound: a certain conservatism in the plasticity of sounds (the result of the combined influence of the British and French schools); great originality in their use; and an uncanny intelligence in the discourse which, even though it soars into academic thought, doesn’t rob the listener of his or her pleasure. My favorite album remains Figures, in part because of the beautiful piece Le Renard et la Rose, inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel Le Petit Prince – and also because of Venture, a tribute to the Golden Age of progressive rock (a pet peeve I share with the composer, might I add). As for Gobeil’s music, it is the wildness of wilderness, the turmoil of human passions, the sudden gestures, the copious splashes of sonic matter thrown all around. If La mécanique des ruptures remains an essential listen, his most recent album Le contrat, a collaboration with guitarist René Lussier, stands as his most accomplished (and thrilling!) work to date.

These four composers may represent the crème de la crème of academic circles, but empreintes DIGITALes’ catalog counts numerous young composers and artists whose work deeply renew the vocabulary of their older colleagues.

I would like to mention Fractures, the just released debut album by Christian Bouchard. His fragmented approach seems to draw as much from academic electroacoustics as from experimental electronica. Thanks to some feverish editing and dizzying fragmentation, Parcelles 1 and Parcelles 2 evoke avant-garde digital video art. I also heartily recommend Louis Dufort’s album Connexions, which blends academic and noise approaches. His stunning piece Zénith features treatments of samples of Luc Lemay’s voice (singer with the death-metal group Gorguts). I am also quite fond of Marc Tremblay’s rather coarse sense of humor. On his CD Bruit-graffiti he often relies on pop culture (from The Beatles to children’s TV shows). His piece Cowboy Fiction, a “western for the ear” attempting to reshape the American dream, brings this Sound Path to a quirky end.

Serious or facetious, abstract or evocative, Québécois electroacoustic music has earned a place in the hearts of avant-garde music lovers everywhere. Now it is your turn to explore its many paths.

Québécois electroacoustic music has earned a place in the hearts of avant-garde music lovers everywhere…


PYM, Peace Warriors, no. 18, January 1, 2002

Il faut savoir gré au label canadien empreintes DIGITALes de proposer un catalogue de musiques électroacoustiques de qualité, quoique certains choix esthétiques soient — comme nous allons le voir — assez discutables. C’est que nous avons affaire à une musique fondamentalement académique — cela dit sans intention péjorative —, domaine dans lequel il n’est pas toujours évident de faire la part d’authenticité et la part de frime. Le disque de Louis Dufort illustre parfaitement le mélange d’agacement et de fascination que provoque sur moi cette musique: fascination pour ce déluge de sonorités, très belles et surgies de nulle part, agacement à l’égard de cet arrière-plan conceptuel un peu douteux: «discontinuité continue», «foisonnement formel de la forme», etc. Bien entendu, ce ne sont que des mots (écrits dans le livret), mais nul doute qu’ils sont à la fois responsables et révélateurs de la frigidité qui se dégage à l’écoute du disque, la pièce Zénith exceptée. Une frigidité moins évidente au premier abord chez Hans Tutschku. Extrémités lointaines (1998), la composition qui ouvre le disque, trahit une brillante maîtrise du matériau acoustique: des ambiances prélevées dans quatre pays d’Extrême-Orient (Singapour, Indonésie, Philippines, Thaïlande) sont intégrées avec brio dans une «structure compositionnelle très condensée» (T.) qui fonctionne comme une invitation au voyage. Il est néanmoins dommage que cette invitation ne soit effective qu’à compter des dernières minutes de la pièce, remarquables, au cours desquelles chaque élément acousmatique trouve l’indépendance et la place qui lui revient, là où au contraire la maturité de la pièce tendait à fondre les sonorités dans une espèce de bourrasque sonore. Tout aussi inspirée, la pièce Les invisibles (1996) part d’une idée trés intéressante: la reconstruction électronique de miniatures instrumentales préalablement composées. Double écriture qui enrichit considérablement le discours, pour le plus grand plaisir de l’auditeur. Le problème se pose lorsque voix et texte viennent mettre leur grain de sel dans tout cela: il s’agit pour Tutschku de «reproduire musicalement des sensations qui se dégagent à la lecture d’un texte sans faire une illustration de ce dernier» (T.), c’est-à-dire, implicitement, faire abstraction du sémantisme au bénéfice de la «matérialité» du langage verbal, «la compréhension du texte devenant secondaire» (T.) Que la voix ne soit plus qu’un matériau acousmatique comme un autre, je n’ai rien contre; il est vrai que notre élocution verbale recèle une musicalité inouïe. Mais la question est bien, sinon celle de la signification sémantique, celle du sens. Dans Sieben Stufen (1995, poème de Georg Trakl), c’est malheureusement la structure, et la structure seule qui est le dépositaire de ce sens, et il faut avouer que cela ne réussit pas franchement au résultat. Car, au bout du compte, entendre une voix humaine décomposée, déconstruite, déstructurée (tous les verbes avec le préfixe «dé-» que vous pounrez imaginer) à l’excés, tout cela au service d’un discours certainement bien argumenté, ne rend justice ni au texte, ni à la musique. Alors, à quoi bon tant de peine? finit par se demander l’auditeur. Là où le travail de Tutschku cherchait à fondre les sources dans une espèce de grand maelström sonique, celui de Marc Tremblay choisit au contraire de révéler les sonorités dans leur caractère brut, dans une perspective de collage, de «bruit-graffiti». Néanmoins, la démarche systématiquement adoptée par le compositeur a de quoi agacer: il s’agit de prélever dans le réel un objet ou une situation, si possible qui fait du bruit; exemple: la voiture (Vroum,1997), les toilettes (Résidus (clip dadaïste), 1995), le téléphone (… Ceci est un message enregistré… ,1994), les pièces de monnaie (L’argent. Toujours l’argent!, 1990), et de juxtaposer sans grande grâce toutes les sonorités qui peuvent en émaner… C’est volontairement anecdotique, nous dit le compositeur à propos de Vroum. Autrement dit: rassurez-vous, si vous n’aimez pas, c’est fait exprès! Grand signe de réussite (à tous les coups on gagne)! Bien plus convaincants sont les «multiples soundings» de Randall Smith, inspirés pour la plupart par la géologie, les mouvements tectoniques de la terre. Dès le début de Inside out, la tonalité est donnée: l’auditeur est propulsé dans une gigantesque course effrénée qui, plus tard, s’avère toujours revenir au même point de départ (l’effet Dupond/t dans le désert, en quelque sorte), toujours se résoudre dans un ultime accord majeur ironique. Au sein de ce déluge de vitesse, acoustique et électronique, mélodie et atonalité, rythme et arythmie ne cessent de se télescoper. Si chez Tutschku, cette synthèse tendait un peu trop vers la «bouillie» électroacoustique, les soundscapes de Smith conservent au contraire tout leur relief. Du dialogue entre violoncelle et électronique, parsemé de réminiscences de Bach (Continental rift) jusqu’aux mille grouillements organiques de Liquid Fragments, et à l’effrayant remue-ménage de Elastic Rebound, tout l’art de Smith a la précision d’un biologiste sur sa table de travail, le tranchant d’un scalpel de dissection, mais également — et heureusement — l’inspiration d’un véritable artiste.

Il faut savoir gré au label canadien empreintes DIGITALes de proposer un catalogue de musiques électroacoustiques de qualité…


François Couture, AllMusic, August 1, 2001

Bruit-graffiti is composer Marc Tremblay’s first album. He approaches electroacoustics from a “popular” or “vernacular” angle. The CD offers six works based on everyday sounds and noises. This is not musique concrète, as the listener easily recognizes the sound sources. In fact, the identification process is part of the listening pleasure in this case, since Tremblay is an obsessive quoter. The first track, Vroum, opens with a “Beep Beep” sampled from The BeatlesDrive My Car — the tone is set. This piece explores the sonic possibilities of the automobile — a nice concert of horns with numerous samples from other famous and less famous car songs. Cowboy Fiction provides the finest moment. It is constructed from two western movies (El Dorado and The Searcher) and various related sound sources like samples of Hank Williams. The atmosphere is brilliantly restored, the whole thing reads like an old western plot — any fan of the genre will appreciate. Most of the pieces run for 10 to 15 minutes. Résidus (clip dadaïste) (“Waste”), on the other hand, is a 5 minute dadaist clip and the most disgusting piece of electroacoustics you will probably ever hear. A tribute to Marcel Duchamp’s work Fontaine, this piece uses noises heard in a public restroom. Very graphical, it leaves no room to the imagination. The first two minutes are funny on a very atavistic level; after it just gets sickening — but still interesting in a very weird kind of way. Tremblay’s maverick tape music, through its attraction to popular references and sound collage, is a lot less difficult than usual musique concrète, but purists will grind their teeth.

… interesting in a very weird kind of way.


Ingvar Loco Nordin, Sonoloco Record Reviews, May 5, 2001

Marc Tremblay (b. 1960) has studied percussion and electroacoustics. Among his teachers of electroacoustics we find the well-known Yves Daoust. However, Tremblay is also involved in video and film.

Vroum (1997) is an onomatopoetic word, of course speaking the sound of cars, of automobiles, of things that are automatically mobile, that move automatically. (It is interesting to see how different languages have developed their names for this object, one of the most revolutionary inventions of the 20th century. The English language thinks about carriages, just using the first three letters of that word for the invention, whereas German just shortens the word “automobile” to “Auto”, and Swedish cuts off most of the word, just using the last part of it, calling the invention “bil”.) They all sound Vroum, though, when geared up to go out there and destroy our auditive environment, as well as poisoning our air and our food… Hmmm… Some invention! At the same time, as Tremblay describes in the CD booklet, the car has forever altered our sense of time and space. In this piece Tremblay suggests a new way of hearing the car.

The piece kicks off with The Beatles, and if you’ve been around long enough you’ll instantly know what piece is sampled; Drive My Car from the album Rubber Soul (1965). After a short while this cutting up of sonic artifacts of our close past, when the pieces rain down on the kitchen table where our children will glue them into a colorful collage, Tremblay gets more inventive, arranging the banging shut of car doors into a percussive event, as the motor gears up and Beatles extracts continue their noble backlashes… and this is when the whole concrete mess is transformed into a dreamy electroacoustic soundscape of temporal manipulations of engines and inserted, sped-up Beatles clichés. Now it really starts getting fun! The stereo-image is just as definitive as it was on the first stereo recordings of The Beatles, which is especially striking if you listen through earphones! An engine in the left ear, a continuous beeping in the right, and some kind of mechanical, shining machinery glaring in the middle of your head! The echoing clangs and furies of a machine shop sends flurries of oily smells up your nostrils, as the essence of motorism smokes out your ears and fills your listening space with poisonous fumes… A car horn ensemble rehearses between your temples, and suddenly these blending horns take on the guise of a giant church organ, filling the lofty expanses under the dome with vibrating spillovers from a blessed heavenly state… until you could swear that you’re hearing Terry Riley practicing on the lowest keys of a harmonium at the time of recording Untitled Organ in New York 1966 or planning for Shri Camel 1970 in India with master carnatic singer Pandit Pran Nath – or is this a resemblance of Toot n’ Blink Chicago by Charlie Morrow, designed for boats gathered out on Lake Michigan? Whatever the case, these are splendid soundings! Even the angelic sounds of David Dunn’s Tabula Angelorum Bonorum 49 (What Next Recordings WN009) come to mind! Surely this idea of Tremblay’s would be a fitting scene for a whole CD, since the variations seem to be endless, really, and would benefit from more time, longer durations. You won’t believe it, but at times these car-related sounds take on the appearance of a harpsichord or a Swiss watchmaker’s shop at twelve noon! In this context you should not allow yourself to miss out on a sound poet’s and an automotive historian’s rendering of Tremblay’s idea; Åke Hodell’s Spirit of Ecstasy – A Racing Car Opera (1977) on Fylkingen Records FYCD 1018-1-2-3; a triple CD released 2000, containing most of late Åke Hodell’s legendary sound poetry and textsound compositions, with the unforgivable exception of “Hey, Lenin!”, which was left out by pure ignorance and lack of knowledge, but which is one of Hodell’s most outrageous and brilliant textsound compositions, with an anarchist fire that sets the pants of people in power ablaze!

Towards the end this music of Tremblay’s turns inward, in a gentle introspection fitting any cross-legged bodhisattva in the history of enlightenment. Finally the brutal sheet metal cars of stark “reality” pass you by on a wet street on a rainy weekday A.M., and you’re back in the business of daily chores…

Conte sous la lune (“Story Told Under the Moon”) (1991) was composed as a kind of reverence to Childhood, and to naivety, which is what Marc Tremblay says he has retained from his childhood. As if out of a sonic vision distant voices of small children rise, transforming into the high pitches of an organ, dancing around in a carefree series of swirling movements. The feeling of distance – in space, in time – is retained for a while. Tiny percussive sounds of brittle beauty, as of little bells or from the manipulated sound of rain falling on a barrel out in the garden, fondle your perception. Church bells join in, but the feeling is still that of a distant state of affairs. The percussive sounds of slowed-down, helicopterized insect wings (yep, that’s the way it sounds!) precede a short outburst of childly laughter, welling up like water out of a fresh water well in the forest. The laughter of children and other child vocals follow, as, I guess, the composer’s memories of his own distant childhood give way to the very concrete childhood at hand of his own children. Man, these are kindergarten electroacoustics for a while, getting franticly fun! Grown-ups are let in, but in comparison sounding like giants or trolls; nasty losers, over-weight and bald and reasonable. Ugh! A bubbly and unforeseeable event follows, maybe portraying the bubbly stomachs of babies about to throw up over your shoulder, while delivering the post-meal burp, huh? With just a few minutes to go a ritardando of a glockenspiel spreads glistening sounds, and evocative wind chimes, making me think of Denis Smalley and the windy, open slopes between the mountains of New Zealand, beautify the soundscape even more. The last minute displays a shiny, brittle, golden gamelan environment, but at the very end a music box in a nursery ends Conte sous la lune in a relaxing falling-a-sleep atmosphere.

Résidus (clip dadaïste) (“Waste [A Dadaist Clip]) (1995) is built around – and from — the sounds that we normally do not notice in a washroom, ruled out by our perceptive discrimination. The piece is also, says Tremblay, an ironic evocation of Marcel Duchamp’s Fontaine. It starts brutally (in comparison to the serene music box that ended the last piece) with a flushing toilet and the sounds of repeated droppings of faeces (excrements; shit!) into the toilet! This is nature realism in sound art! The hissing of water pipes transporting water to replace the flushed amounts of the fluid builds up to storm. The beautified sounds of singular farts resound in a counter-pointed manner on the backdrop of a more distant murmur of water pipes, as the faescal droppings that keep falling are joined by the repulsive sounds of violent vomits. The farts seem to get wetter and more diarrhea-like as they splutter out of the rectum. The combination of repulsive and nauseating sounds build up to a kind of washroom motet, until a giant, gargantuan, Armageddon flush flushes everything that is abhorrent and smelly to Kingdom come! Tremblay does not give any credit to whomever supplied the excrements, the vomits or the farts…

Cowboy Fiction (1998) utilizes the sounds from two Westerns (movies), applied in electroacoustically altered guises. The sound material thus originates in Howard HawksEl Dorado (1966) (French version) and John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), as well as in singer Jo New York’s version of Hank Williams’s Rambling Man with the added pleasures of a few locomotives and guns… This is a pretty comprehensive audit of all the collected ingredients of “The West” and the cruel theft of the land from the inhabitants of the continent and the consecutive ethnic cleansing. Electroacoustics are oftentimes very visionary, in the sense that they induce inner pictures, but most of the time in an abstract way. This, though, is a kind of programmatic music, really giving you concrete visions of The West, as it rests in your own experience from the movies or history books, and in your political views of the repulsive way in which the indians were dealt with by the European monsters that swarmed across the land like grasshoppers, bringing in black slaves from another continent to do their hard work for them… Isn’t it a wonder, a wondrous irony, that these cruel circumstances should form the basis of so much romanticism, so much music, so many movies and fictional stories… Who are we, to be manipulated like that? Tremblay’s piece is a magnificent sonic review of those evil days, delivered with the skill and authority of a true electroacoustic visionary and storyteller. The way he handles the clips from the movie soundtracks reminds me of the brilliant workings of legendary sound artist and painter, poet etcetera, Öyvind Fahlström, who used to record sections of TV-programs while living in New York in the 1960s, shaping intriguing sound works from that secular material.

«… Ceci est un message enregistré…» (“This Is a Recording”) (1994) moves in the environment of telephones, answering machines and related forms of communicative sound worlds. The beginning of a poem by Swedish poet Sune Karlsson (b. 1946):

“In the periphery of perception
a throng of possibilities is acommodated:
The solar wind flutters Aurora Borealis
for frozen Eskimos and Lapps
while simultaneously illuminating the flora
in ultra violet arabesques
for hungry bees
The electrons rotate the nucleic acid
of the rabies virus together
while simultaneously dashing forth through telephone wires
carrying a loved voice to a thirsty ear”

The material indicated in the subject matter allows for a multitude of solutions, sound wise, and Tremblay utilizes the possibilities brilliantly, surprising at times with his imaginative handling. The concrete material gets its exposition, no doubt, but before long Tremblay’s handicraft at the machinery of sound manipulations move the original sonics into a beautiful and ear-catching enchantedness of tele-communicative imagery. Tremblay doesn’t miss out on a thing: he even engages in telephone sex, different jerk offs in both ears simultaneously… and a lot of the imagery here deals with isolation, anonymity and loneliness of the noli-me-tangere situation in which many singles of the inner cities find themselves these urban days.

“L’argent… Toujours l’argent!” (“Money… Always Money!”) (1990) is a study of money as a sound source, as well as an object of desire. Tremblay uses sounds from The Montréal Stock Exchange, TV game shows etcetera. Do you remember that Pink Floyd song on the album “Dark Side of the Moon” from the 1970s, with phrases like “Money, it’s a gas…” and so on, with the imaginative usage of the sounds of a cashier’s register? Marc Tremblay provides eleven minutes of monetary acoustics, don’t you know! Some of the sounds could as well originate in some whale fisheries, though, or on the windswept tundra of Northern Siberia, so Tremblay allows himself a lot of sonic freedom. Inserted are the upset, agitated yells of guys in ties at the Exchange, and Tremblay makes brilliant use of tumbling, rolling, rotating coins on a gambler’s table, or maybe on the kitchen table of a single father who tries hard to provide for his kids on his state employment from a position as a clerk at the local police authority…

This is one brilliant CD of electroacoustics, blending seriousness with a sometimes ill-witted humor and surprising twists and turns of the flow, bringing you from reality’s backyard into the enchanted forest in a jiffy, seamlessly, until you don’t know what’s up and down, before he dumps you in the middle of the roaring crowds of suits at The Montréal Stock Exchange. Tremblay has earned his position at the table of the Parnassus of Electroacoustics!

Tremblay has earned his position at the table of the Parnassus of Electroacoustics!


PP, De:Bug, May 1, 2001

Sechs lange Achterbahnfahrten auf verschiedenen Terrains, die jeweils in Form von geräuschhaften Themenparks durch ein fein gesponnenes Soundnetz erschlossen werden. Ganz gleich ob es sich dabei um Fragmente aus der Klangwelt des Automobils oder solchen aus Western handelt, um Telekommunikationsschnipsel oder die unappetitlichen Geräusche, wie sie an öffentlichen WC’s anzutreffen sind, man merkt jedem Augenblick die Freude des Entdeckens mit anschließendem Arrangierens an, welches vermutlich zu einem nicht unerheblichen Teil auf später optimierten Zufällen basiert. Jeder Track umfasst mehrere Stationen, an denen die Parameter Effekteinsatz, Ereignisdichte und Tempo in verschiedenen Gewichtungen zu Buche schlagen. Sehr auf den Punkt gebrachte Arbeiten, die weit über eine bloße Zustandsbeschreibung hinausgehend Perspektiven eröffnen und denen nichts hinzuzufügen bleibt. Natürlich verlangt das alles nach einer hohen Aufmerksamkeit seitens des Hörers, je größer die kontemplative Grundstimmung jedoch ist, desto mehr Vergnügen sollte drin sein. 4/5



Philippe Robert, Les Inrockuptibles, April 3, 2001

Le bruit, voilà le thème de ce disque de l’électroacousticien canadien Marc Tremblay, ancien élève d’Yves Daoust dont le chemin musical a croisé celui de quelques improvisateurs dont le platiniste Martin Tétreault. Quelle que soit sa nature, une sonnerie de téléphone, des voitures qui passent au loin ou un avion dont les réacteurs déchirent le ciel, le bruit, qui est une des composantes essentielles de notre univers quotidien, nous ramène inéluctablement à l’instant qui passe, à un chaos sur lequel nous n’avons aucune prise. Selon Tremblay, le bruit serait un élément perturbateur dans la quête de l’harmonie. Pas certain: souvent, on ne perçoit plus ce qui est familier. Aussi, pour redécouvrir le bruit, et qui sait, l’apprivoiser, Tremblay s’est attelé des années durant à en explorer le potentiel expressif, dénichant de la poésie là où beaucoup n’entendent plus qu’agression. Bruit-graffiti part donc du postulat que les objets parlent, et propose une espèce de symphonie réaliste à partir d’objets bruyants articulée en six parties qui renvoie l’auditeur à son quotidien. Ainsi sont évoqués la voiture (dont le son du moteur est quasiment devenu le fond sonore de la vie urbaine), le téléphone (sa vie, ses voix), la maison (la chasse d’eau!), la bourse (ses échanges économiques) et les réminiscences de l’enfance. On devinera à l’énoncé de ces thèmes que la démarche du compositeur, basée sur le cut-up qu’explore également, mais à partir de musique existante uniquement, John Oswald, s’inscrit dans une filiation qui va de “Revolution #9” des Beatles à AutoJazz de Barney Wilen en passant par Toilet piece de Yoko Ono. La pièce la plus étonnante est un hommage au western qui ravira les cinéphiles: on y entend, mixées, des sources altérées provenant de La Prisonnière du desert de John Ford et El Dorado d’Howard Hawks. Coups de fusils, trains à vapeur et bribes de Rambling Man d’Hank Williams recomposent un film imaginaire. Pour le seul plaisir des oreilles celui-là.


Mathew Adkins, SAN Diffusion, April 1, 2001

“… are you coming yet… are your nipples erect… ” perhaps not… but your ears are certainly in for an amusing treat. This short passage of telephone sex from «… Ceci est un message enregistré…» is one of many snatches of sonic graffitti that litter the sound world of Marc Tremblay. For Tremblay “Noise is the child of chaos. It confronts us daily and can come to symbolise all that is accidental in life… l Iove to discover the poetry in the noise that surrounds us.”

All six works on this disk seek to explore the poetic quality of everyday noise in its various guises. On the surface these works appear to be light-hearted, even flippant, imbued with a real sense of ironic amusement. Beneath this surface however, there is a darker side, one which utilises many of the anecdotal materials to provide social comment - Cowboy Fiction (1998) exposes the imperialistic mentality of ‘the White man’, «… Ceci est un message enregistré…» (1994) - the way in which technology, though allowing us to communicate faster and quicker, can actually heighten our sense of physical insularity, and L’argent… toujours l’argent! (1990), our voyeristic love of gameshows that allow contestants get rich quick.

Vroum which opens the disk is a homage to the automobile replete with samples from The Beatles to Formula One. The piece’s gestural energy is contained in noise based samples derived from various car parts while more pitched elements are derived from car horns. Though this is a substantial piece, at fifteen minutes it seems a little long. This is due in part to the long drawn out central section based predominately on a sequenced car horn could have been shorter to keep up both the spectral and the gestural from the opening. Nevertheless, this opening piece gives you a taste of what is in store for later.

In contrast to the two extended opening works Vroum and Conte sous la lune - celebrating the naivety of childhood, Résidus (clip dadaïste) (1995) is the shortest piece on the disk and is an ironic evocation of Duchamp’s Fontaine. Résidus (clip dadaïste) must lay claim to be the first electroacoustic work to include a sonic vomit. Tremblay considers this piece “a small variation on the sounds that we hear - but do not really hear - in washrooms.” This is a real cinema for the ears piece which is nothing if not graphic!

Cowboy Fiction (1998) although in the same amusing cinematic vein of the other pieces is the only one actually acknowledged as being part of a larger multimedia project. It forms the second part of an on-going project entitled Rêve de cowboy. The sonic material for the piece comes from the sound tracks to the French version of Howard HawksEl Dorado, John Ford’s The Searchers, and a version of Hank WilliamsRambling Man with a few locomotives and gun shots thrown in for good measure. For me this is the strongest piece on the disk.

Tremblay’s world is a crafted in-your-face melange of sonic debris, that engage in an amusing but ironic commentary on the noises that surround us. I had great fun listening to this disk and laughed out loud on numerous occasions. There are few electroacoustic composers that are able to combine craftsmanship with ironic humour as Tremblay does so effortlessly. Enjoy.

There are few electroacoustic composers that are able to combine craftsmanship with ironic humour as Tremblay does so effortlessly.


Massimo Ricci, Deep Listenings, no. 20, April 1, 2001

Marc Tremblay cattura meglio l’attenzione grazie allo sfruttamento di suoni comuni (esemplare il primo brano, Vroum, composto da rumori di veicoli a motore e traffico urbano cuciti in studio). Di dubbio gusto invece un brano basato su un noto sanitario da bagno che si usa quotidianamente… Il CD è divertente ma non un capolavoro.


Stefan Hetzel, Bad Alchemy, no. 37, January 25, 2001

Marc Tremblay aus Québec lässt mich, einmal mehr, einrnal wieder, am Konzept der musique concrète (ver-)zweifeln. Auf Bruit-graffiti (empreintes DIGITALes, IMED 9949) präsentiert der 40 jährige tape composer Kompositionen von derart naiver Selbstbezüglichkeh, dass kh zunächst meinen Ohren nicht trauen wolte. Nicht nur, dass das erste Stück Vroum. heißt, es beginnt auch noch mh Autohupen und einem Schnipsel aus Baby you can drive my car von den Beatles. Tremblay ebenso entwaffnendes wie enervierendes Konzept ist hiermit auch schon erschöpfend aufgedeckt: Stuck Nummer zwei Conte sous la lune handelt von der Kindheit und verarbeitet — na was wohl — Babyquaken, Teddyquieken und Xylophongeklimper, auf Cowboy Fiction. ist Pferdetrappeln, Dampflokschnaufen und Pistolengeknalle.zu hören. Welches Klangmaterial L’argent, toujours l’argent… (Das Geld) zugrunde liegt, verrate ich jetzt nicht mehr…Tremblay Herangehensweise als “kunstfern” zu bezeichnen, wäre vielleicht zu tief gegriffen, sprechen wir lieber von den (handwerklich übrigens makellosen) Hervorbringungen eines eher schlichten Gemütes, eines Menschen mit Sinn für Alltags- und Trivalkultur, der eben einfach keine Lust hat, symbolistische Lyrik oder abstrakte Philosopheme zu vertonen. Doch ist der Preis, den Tremblay für diese (Schein) “Einfachheit”. und “Zugänglichkeit” zahlt, hoch: er heißt Plattheit, Absehbarkeit’, Beliebigkeit.


Henry Schneider, Vital, no. 258, January 15, 2001

“Bruit” is French for noise, noise that is innocuous, bothersome, undesirable, and pointless. Marc Tremblay is a French Canadian electroacoustic composer who explores six interpretations of these aspects of noise on this album. The opening composition Vroum is an aural exploration of the automobile using samples of The Beatles (Beep beep mmm beep beep, yeah), car horns, car doors, starting engines, driving cars, etc. These are those mundane sounds we hear everyday brought into a new focus. The second composition Conte sous la lune is intended as an homage to childhood. It is a quiet piece with tinkling chimes, fluttering electronics, and infants laughing and bathing all sampled and processed. The third piece Résidus (clip dadaïste) can be quite revolting to some listeners. Tremblay plays with the sounds we hear in a bathroom: flushing, belching, farting, vomiting, washing, etc. and a bit more out there than Roger Waters’ Body Music. Résidus (clip dadaïste) builds to a toilet flush of major proportions, probably not something you want to have playing as dinner music. The fourth composition is Cowboy Fiction where Tremblay samples the soundtracks from the French version of Howard Hawks’ El Dorado, John Ford’s The Searchers, a cover of Hank Williams’ Rambling Man, locomotives, and guns. This is an ingenious blend of these sources that results in a dream-like vision of Hollywood Westerns with the White Man (John Wayne) taking the land by force from the Indian. The fifth composition is «… Ceci est un message enregistré…», a sexy little number exploring the sonic realm of the telephone: ringing, hidden defects, dead-air moments, anonymous voices, and its decadent use for phone sex. The disc closes with L’argent, toujours l’argent…. This piece is a study of money as sound material and is more ambient/cosmic in nature than the other pieces. Bruit-graffiti is the perfect addition to your sound collage library.

… an ingenious blend… the perfect addition to your sound collage library.


Hang Up, no. 1, December 4, 2000

Nouvelle production du musicien québécois, avec ici des enregistrements en forme d’étude et d’analyse sur des bruits qui nous environnent et qui occupent leurs places…


PiT, Gonzo Circus, no. 47 B, December 1, 2000

Bij deze releases zouden we een boompje kunnen opzetten over de zin en onzin van elektroakoestische muziek. Het Canadese empreintes DIGITALes is gespecialiseerd in dergelijke releases en stuurt ze met karrenvrachten op ons af. Met wisselend succes.Bruit-graffitivan de Canadese componist Marc Tremblay, die onder meer samenwerkte met Martin Tétreault, spitst zich toe op geluiden uit onze onmidUellijke omgeving. Vroum is een auditieve denhoefening over de wijze waarop het gemotoriseerde verkeer onze manier van luisteren in de voorbije decennia beinvloedée.L’argent… toujours l’argent!, «… Ceci est un message enregistré…» en Cowboy Fictionzijn humoristisch bedoelde collages (over geld, telefoons en westerns) met een boodschap. Boobschap ook in Résidus (clip dadaïste), dat bij ons een glimlach kon tevoorschijn toveren omdat Temblay hier uitsluitend toiletgeluiden reproduceert. Ooit al eens erover nagedacht met welke knal een drol het water raakt? Conte sous la lune kon ons echter wel bekoren. Tremblay roept hier met eenvoudige, auditieve middelen de kindertijd terug op als een verloren eden.


JWB, Gonzo Circus, no. 47, December 1, 2000

Marc Tremblay is de naam van deze viespeuk, die op zijn cd Bruit-Graffiti, de nummer 49 op het label, een bont geluid laat horen. Toch gaat alles met een wetenschappelijke nauwkeurigReid en dat is zeer knap te noemen, want hij gebruikt onmogelijke geluiden om ritmes mee te maken. De Canadees heeh dan ook ‘gewoon’ het conservatorium doorlopen. Vele stem samples maken het geheel filmisch, documentaire achtig. Maar geluiden van klaarkomende vrouwen maken het weer humoristisch. En dat is wat Tremblay in de eerste plaats laat horen, een kruisbestuivin~ tussen uit~ekiende Speels en spannend.


Dietmar Bruckmayr, Skug, no. 44, December 1, 2000

Jetzt wird es akademisch ernst, aber schön! Drei Veroffentlichungen des Montréaler Labels empreintes DIGITALes: Randall Smith Sondes, Marc Tremblay Bruit-graffiti. Hans Tutschku Moment. Drei beeindruckende Beispiele moderner Musik unter Verwendung elektranischen Instrumentariums Lassen auch die Biographien der drei Herren hinsichtlich aLademischer bzw E-musikalischer Sazialisierung schlimmsten Post -Ircam Unfug befurchten, so wird mon sofort erfreulichst belehrt Hier wird zwar auch mit GRM-Tools, Elektroakustik und Musik konkret herumgefuchtelt, doch vereinigen sich technologisches und kompositorisches Können mit großem Spiel und Experimentiertrieb, sodoss Kompositionen entstehen, die Touch, Wire und Co etwos louwarm erscheinen lassen. Wer vertreibt das in Osterreich? Ansansten www.electrocd com und kaufen!!! empreintes DIGITALes les macht glücklich!!! Der Rezensent verabschiedet sich Richtung Steyr zum Boxturnier um den Steyrer Ponther. Das sind bleibende Werte!

Drei beeindruckende Beispiele moderner Musik…


Zipo, Aufabwegen, no. 30, December 1, 2000

Marc Tremblay hauptsächlich mit Stimmen. Gelächter gehört ebenso zum Spektrum der menschlichen Stimme, wie Schluchzen und glucksendes Erstaunen Bruit-graffiti ist ein befremdliches Schauspiel sich gegenseitig bespringender Stimmen und Geräusche; ihre Juxtaposition macht sie zur Musik. Wie Fundstücke einer gescheiterten Zivilisation.

Tonträger: Hörtest

Sascha Karminski, Intro, no. 78, October 1, 2000

Daß die Welt um uns herum Klang ist, wissen nicht nur Joachim-Ernst Behrend und Talvin Singh — die unesoterische, krachige Variante vertritt u.a. Tremblay, der hier mit scholarischem Ernst Autos (Vroum), Klos (Résidus (clip dadaïste) — Vorsicht, nicht als Tafelmusik geeignet!) und alte Westernfilme (Cowboy Fiction) als unerschöpfliche Klangreservoirs entdeckt. Ganze Universen erschließen sich in der Welt der Telekommunikation bei «… Ceci est un message enregistré…» (vom schnöden Klingeln übers Knacken in der Leitung hin zum Telefonsex) und des Geldes bei L’argent… toujours l’argent! — von der Börse über Werbung hin zum TV-Quiz. Richtig aus dem Rahmen fällt lediglich das kindlich-naïve Conte sous la lune, das ohne den konzeptuellen Überbau viel direkter wirkt und uns zeitweilig die Welt mit Kinderohren hören läßt — wahrhaft psychedelisch.


Roberto Michieletto, Music Club, no. 100, October 1, 2000

“Noise is the child of chaos. It confronts us daily and can come to symbolize all that is accidental in life.” È questa la frase che più mi ha colpito nel libretto che accompagna Bruit-graffiti del compositore elettroacustico Marc Tremblay. Se invece vogliamo presentare quello che è l’aspetto più “sentimentale” dell’intera faccenda, sempre secondo il musicista canadese, è interessante porre in risalto un’altra citazione: “I love to discover the poetry in the noise that surrounds us.” L’atmosfera che permea le composizioni (registrate in un arco temporale che va dal 1990 al 1997) è impregnata di umori rumoristi, ma nonostante il “bruit” che campeggia nel titolo non dovete aspettarvi un fragoroso assalto alla Sutcliffe Jugend, quanto piuttosto una minuziosa ricerca su oggetti della quotidianità che producono, consapevolmente o meno, rumore e che sono stati utilizzati da Tremblay per mettere insieme una disparata varietà di suoni concreti a tema; infatti ciascuno dei sei pezzi ruota attorno a un argomento specifico (l’automobile, il telefono, le monete, ecc.). Annotazioni finali: 1) il disco è stato registrato con il supporto del Canada Council for the Arts 2) Résidus (clip dadaïste) è puro trash da gabinetto (ascoltate e capirete!!!).

Altrisuoni in breve

Etero Genio, Blow Up, no. 29, October 1, 2000

Animato da una dissarcratoria vena dada, minata in parte da un’impostazone accademica, il canadese francofono Tremblay prende spunto dal suono alcuni status symbol come l’automobile (Vroum), il telefono («… Ceci est un message enregistré…») e il denaro (L’argent… toujours l’argent!), per dare vita a grumi di rumore organizzato, Altra traccia di spessore è poi Cowboy Fiction dove, ispirandosi ai westem dei ‘50, viene, posta in risalto la contraddizione fra fantasie libertarie e realtà imperialiste insite all’epopea del far west: le fonti sonore utilizzate provengono dalle coIonne sonore di El Dorado e Searchers, da una versione del classico Rambling Man di Hank Williams e dal linguaggio di locomotive e fucili (ad ogni epoca i propri status symbol). La copertina in perfetto stile warholiano, con il nostro intento a dirigere una pletora di carabatole, prometteva comunque maggiori sfaceli. (6/7)


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 45, September 1, 2000

Comment présenter objectivement cet enregistrement, ou plutôt ce recueil comprenant divers enregistrements autour d’une même thème (le bruit) sans paraphraser les notes du livret, bien informatif? Que chacune des six pièces se veut une interrogation sonore d’un ensemble de sons bien précis et souvent dérangeants, issus de notre environnement quotidien (voiture, bruits de toilettes, le téléphone), économique (la bourse) ou existentiel (réminiscence d’images sonores des mythologies de l’enfance)?

Faut-il rappeler que d’une certaine manière (et cela n’est pas mentionné dans le livret), les Beatles — il ne s’agit pas de ‘bruit’ bien sûr, mais Robert Normandeau, avec Venture [CD Figures, IMED 9944] (cf. R&C#42) les avait déjà mis à contribution! — eux aussi font partie des réminiscences adolescentes? Un des paramètres de Vroum (pour la voiture) est en effet emprunté à Drive my Car (et pourquoi pas le ‘car crash’ de Revolution Nr. 9 qui aurait, selon quelques rumeurs de l’époque, coûté la vie à McCartney?). Sans parler de Toilet Piece de Yoko Ono dans l’album Fly!

Tout est en fait dans l’art et la manière de procéder. Chaque pièce est en fait une compilation en soit d’une multitude d’enregistrements thématiques (simples bruits, voix, effets électroniques), juxtaposés, superposés, mis en boucle, suggéres, etc. Et c’est ce travail minutieux qui surtout retiendra l’attention de l’auditeur, qui, au-delà de l’anecdotique, appréciera surtout le doigté, la maîtrise de la mise en œuvre, la capacité de l’amener à découvrir un nouvel univers pourtant familier.

Tout est en fait dans l’art… le doigté, la maîtrise de la mise en œuvre…


Geert De Decker, Sztuka Fabryka, July 1, 2000

Marc Tremblay sounds as the William S Burroughs of the acoustic material. For his compositions he collects audio-material connected to a choosen theme and starts to cut-up and combines them. The result is a collage of edited and repeated audio-material that creates several kind of compositions. For Cowboy Fiction for example, pieces of old western-movies were collected, glued preciously in an ambient background and a Mexican guitarplay highlights the Western atmosphere. Vroum on the other side, is completely different. It tells us about the car and this composition sounds as the effects in a comic-movie: ‘vroum — vroum — tuttut — yepie yeah — tuttut — vroum — bang — bang — …’ It is a mix of repeated sounds connected to the car, sometimes edited sometimes a constantly bombardment of car sounds. The compositions of Marc are of a big variety, while the collage of acoustic-material is constantly present in his work.

… sounds as the William S Burroughs of the acoustic material.

Délire actuel: Review

François Couture, CFLX 95.5 FM, May 1, 2000

Marc Tremblay teaches in Matane (Québec). He first studied percussion at the Chicoutimi conservatory and then studied electroacoustic music in Montréal. He has collaborated with Michel Ratté and Martin Tétreault and is currently working on a western film project with writer Gilles Arteau.

Bruit-graffiti is his first record. Marc Tremblay approaches electroacoustics from a “popular” or “vernacular” angle. Bruit-graffiti offers six works based on everyday soundsand noises. This is not musique concrète, as the listener easily recognizes the sound sources. In fact, the identification process is part of the listening pleasure in this case. Tremblay is a quoter.

The first track, Vroum, opens with a “Beep Beep” sampled from The BeatlesDrive My Car. The tone is set. This piece explores the sonic possibilities of the automobile — a nice concert of horns. In Conte sous la lune (Tale under the moon), Tremblay taps in his childhood — excerpts of Canadian children shows resurface here and there. Cowboy Fiction is the best work on this disc. It is constructed from two western movies (El Dorado and The Searcher) and various related sound sources like samples of Hank Williams. The atmosphere of these movies is brilliantly rendered. «… Ceci est un message enregistré…» (This is a recording) digs into the world of communication through the telephone and it leaves room to erotic phone calls. L’argent… toujours l’argent! (Money… always money!) reminds us of what makes the world go round. All these pieces run between 10 and 15 minutes long. Résidus (clip dadaïste) (Waste), is a 5-minute dadaist clip and the most disgusting piece of electroacoustics I ever heard. A tribute to Marcel Duchamp’s Fontaine, this piece uses noises heard in a public restroom. Very graphical, this work leaves no room to the imagination. The first two minutes are funny, but then I start to get sick. Still, interesting in a very weird way. Bruit-graffiti doesn’t belong to the same realm of electroacoustic art than Francis Dhomont’s poetry. More popular, graphic and accessible, even funny at times, it’s easy to listen to and has many surprises. I liked it a lot.

Very strongly recommended ★★★★

Plus populiste, mais en même temps plus accessible, voire rigolo… s’écoute facilement, sans effort et réserve plusieurs surprises …

More texts

  • xenya, De:Bug, October 1, 2000
  • Noah Wane, Splendid E-Zine, August 21, 2000