Montreal-based composer Jean-François Blouin delivers fifty-five minutes of rich sound mass at the crossroads of instrumental and musique concrète. In Lieues de résonances, his 2016 release, we are immersed in a bass heavy assemblage of stringed instruments, stereo delays, and ghostly soundscapes.
Relying primarily on cello, guitar, and stick bass, Blouin’s music also builds upon digital processing. It is a densely textured, still-life sound image that morphs slowly, like a blooming ecology, a result somewhat reminiscent of ambient music. Don’t expect Blouin’s pieces to have frenzied outpourings that end with a bang. They unfold imperceptibly, and even his loud climaxes have a trace of quiet intensity.
Scordatura is filled with melancholic sound-colour melody. The depth of sustained notes, punctuated with plucked guitar harmonics, and shrilling sirens might make the listener feel like a tiny little being inside a cello’s body, discovering an immense horizon. To enjoy the lushness of Blouin’s music, louder is better, which is unfortunately impossible in one piece, Nature morte, because its swarms of high frequencies interfere with the listening. Its shudders of noise, telluric sounds, and a compelling stereophony might otherwise make it memorable.
With Lieues de résonances, Jean-François Blouin again confirms his talent for original music. Averaging fifteen minutes per piece, however, this horizontal kind of music feels long. The mixed pieces would surely benefit from being performed live.