Rene Lussier Quintette - Rene Lussier Quintette

Kev Rowland

This is the first time I have come across Lussier, but apparently he is well-known in his native Canada, having provided more than sixty film soundtracks and thirty albums, for which he has won multiple awards. He has been involved in multiple projects and bands, with the mos well-known being The Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, and as well as working with different collaborators he has composed commissioned works for Vancouver’s Now Orchestra and Hard Rubber Orchestra, Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec, and New York ensemble Bang on a Can, among others. What all of his works in common is that he improvises and experiments, and that is definitely true of this album.

I have never come across a quintet of this musical line-up, as for a start there are two drummers (and it can’t be guaranteed that either of them are playing at any one time let along both [powering through together). Then add to that an accordionist, and another musician who switches between euphonium and tuba. That just leaves Lussier himself, who provides electric guitar and daxophone. No, that’s not a typo, but is an electric wooden experimental musical instrument which was invented in the Eighties. Musically this is RIO crossed with free jazz and krautrock, and is far out in left field that the guys have actually left the stadium and are somewhere in the next state. Musically it is a mess, as the guys go off on tangents and create strange sounds and arrangements, yet somehow it all makes sense at the same time and that is something I am having real problems getting my ears around. Every fibre of my being tells me that this is awful and how on earth can I be listening to this weird collection of instruments and experimental ideas, yet at the same time I find myself enjoying it as there is something within it that holds it together. There is a structure which all the guys adhere to, and although it may be weird and twisted, it is most definitely there, and they can spin in a new direction as a single entity, or drop the music dead. Strange and unusual it may be, but it is also a compelling piece of work for the deranged.

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