Perhaps more artistically creative than the scientific genius Hugh Le Caine, Quebec composer Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux (1938-1985) was another Canadian pioneer in the field of electroacoustic music. In 1968, at the suggestion of Iannis Xenakis, she went off to Paris to study at the Groupe de recherches musicales and also attended classes with Pierre Schaeffer, one of the original exponents of “musique concrète.” Returning to Montréal in 1971 she worked with colleagues Otto Joachim and Gilles Tremblay to establish an electroacoustic studio at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal where over the next fifteen years she created an impressive body of work. Coulombe Saint-Marcoux made significant contributions in a variety of areas: exploration of the voice as an instrument; the integration of electroacoustics with other artistic disciplines; reflection on the role of women composers; and experimentation with spatial trajectories to make the movement of sound more palpable to the listener.
Although many of her compositions include live performance with pre-recorded tape, the disc Impulsion focuses on the purely electroacoustic aspects of Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux’s compositional activity. It is a fitting tribute that this important historic document should be released by the Canadian success story empreintes DIGITALes, a Montréal label that twelve years after its founding boasts 65 titles in its catalog, featuring 76 composers and a total of 344 electroacoustic compositions. One suspects that none of this could have been achieved without the groundwork laid by the likes of Hugh Le Caine and Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux.