Out of Canada

Christopher Elson, Paris Transatlantic, no. 2:3, September 1, 1995

Some music can be truly characterized as striking. Alain Thibault’s new album Volt, brought to us by Canadian publisher empreintes DIGITALes, really packs a punch. It positively pounds!

The opening piece, Concerto pour piano MIDI, follows the classical concerto schema, but the computer driven synthesizers and sequencers drive us into a decidedly contemporary space. Jacques Drouin does an admirable job of sticking with what Thibault himself describes as “the nightmarish precision of tape.”

E.L.VI.S. (Électro-lux vertige illimité synthétique) harnesses a team of willing saxophonists (Quatuor de saxophones de Montréal) to the synthesized plough and turns over some pretty unexpected ground: texts of songs made famous by Elvis Presley are synthesized and used as a rather touching foil for soundscaping (like landscaping…)

Approximately equidistant between Ian Hammer’s Miami Vice theme and Pierre Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître, Thibault’s work chisels itself into our edgy modern consciousness, leaving a mark deeper than we might feel comfortable with. How many volts in a hammer, anyway?

… really packs a punch. It positively pounds!