Review

Matthew McFarlane, Musicworks, no 83, 1 juin 2002

He has been featured in numerous press reports, he’s had sales all over the worid, and his craft has been featured on countless recordings. So you might be wondering why you’ve never heard of Yves Beaupré on the electroacoustic circuit. Well, Beaupré is known more for great harpsichords than for great compositions. He has, however, had a lifelong fascination with computers and electroacoustic music, and four years ago, from his workshop in the Plateau of Montréal, Beaupré listened to the sounds around him and decided that he wanted to try his hand at composition. Humeur de facteur, released by the prominent Montréal electroacoustic label empreintes DIGITALes, is the result of a nine-month sabbatical from the worid of drills, sanders, wood, and metal.

Beaupré is obviously influenced by the Montréal school of composers, such as Normandeau, Gobeil, and Dhomont. However, there is less cinematic vision in his work and more emphasis on musical and extra-musical sound. Beaupré gathered source material in his workshop and then manipulated it in his home studio. At times, reference to the harpsichord is very clear, particularly in La Beauséjour, a tribute to the famous Montréal harpsichordist. This piece strikes me as the strongest on the album. Full-textured and rich in sonic material, it is also, at times, extremely rhythmic. Beaupré, a true lover of music, admits to the influence of Montréal-school techno in parts of the disc. But he draws us back to his own craft by using recognizable harpsichord material. This grounds the listener, both musically and sonically.

A striking feature of the music is the thought that clearly went into the structural aspects of the work. In La Laurendeau, simple repeated patterns shift in and out of a richly textured background. Furthermore, Beaupré’s sense of layering is impressive. There is a sense that he is guiding us through a sonic geography. His ability to move from one sound environment to another without a sense of progression is magnificent. The fourth track, La Pelots Point, named for a location on Lake Champlain, is inspired by Beaupré’s love of sailing. The sharp opening rhythmic texture of the composition is broken midway through the movement by a Iyrical and harmonic passage that fades into the background. There is a meditative feeling to this section, almost as if Beaupré were alluding to the Renaissance with a type of electric chanting.

A highlight of this disc for me is its intense focus on musical elements, not just on sound. Both the quiet Iyricism and the moments of driving rhythmic intensity make this disc unforgettable. It’s not just sound that Beaupré layers, but musical textures and sonorities. Furthermore, his occupation and his connections to older musical forms allow for a creative expression drawn to the past but intensely interested in the future. Humeur de facteur is an auspicious start to Beaupré’s compositional career.

… his connections to older musical forms allow for a creative expression drawn to the past but intensely interested in the future.

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