A Montreal native, where he is still based, guitarist Bernard Falaise exploded on the new music scene in the late '90s, appearing in many Ambiances Magnétiques-related outfits, especially in avant rock-oriented groups that included drummer Rémi Leclerc (Miriodor, Les Projectionnistes, Papa Boa). He is also active on the free improv scene, playing with Klaxon Gueule and Robert M. Lepage, among others. His distinctive guitar style, at times raw and twangy, at others highly atmospheric, set him apart in the same class of originals as René Lussier. He is also a much in-demand record producer and has composed contemporary classical music in his spare time for the tango ensemble Quartango and the saxophone quartet Quasar.
Falaise was born in 1965 and little is known from his formative years. He picked up the guitar in his teens and came to music from the progressive side of rock; King Crimson's Robert Fripp is an obvious influence. He studied music and started to work professionally in the early '90s, joining the avant-prog group Miriodor. The group's fourth album, Jongleries Élastiques, came out in 1995 and introduced his playing to fans of the genre. The enthusiastic response to the album ensured he was dutifully acknowledged for his important contribution to the group's refreshed sound. Miriodor drummer Rémi Leclerc was already well-acquainted with the avant-garde music collective Ambiances Magnétiques and he introduced his friend. Falaise quickly became a favorite sideman and enrolled in Claude St-Jean's Les Projectionnistes, Michel F. Côté's Klaxon Gueule, and André Duchesne's Diesel (sadly undocumented), and started the group Papa Boa with Leclerc, saxophonist Pierre Labbé, and bassist Frédéric Roverselli.
In 1999-2000, Falaise diversified his activities, reaching a wider audience. With Côté, he co-wrote the music for Robert Lepage's film Nô and began to work with alternative pop artists. He co-produced the first album by Jorane in 1999 and the next year produced and played on Marie-Jo Thériault's acclaimed CD La Maline. The number of awards and praise this album gathered assured him a first-class status as a cutting-edge producer. In the meantime, he released his first solo CD, Do, a collection of multi-tracked guitar pieces, in 2000. In 2007 his second CD as a leader, Clic, arrived, featuring Falaise on guitars, bass, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, percussion, turntables, and "manipulations diverses," along with a number of Montreal's most cutting-edge musicians, including saxophonist/flutist Jean Derome, clarinetist Lori Freedman, trombonist Tom Walsh, trumpeter Gordon Allen, drummer/percussionist Jean Martin, and Julien Grégoire on marimba.
While continuing to collaborate with other artists of the Ambiances Magnétiques scene (e.g., the Unexpected, Martin Tétreault, Mélanie Auclair) during the new millennium, Falaise also performed live and recorded with Miriodor, appearing on 2001's Mekano, 2005's Parade + Live at NEARfest, 2009's Avanti!, and 2013's Cobra Fakir (also producing, mixing, editing, and serving as co-engineer on the latter). He also appeared in a duo with quirky singer/songwriter/poet Frank Martel on the 2009 album À l'Ecole du Ara, and performed live with aforementioned guitarist André Duchesne and violist/violinist Jean René in a new trio version of Conventum, Duchesne's groundbreaking folk-chamber-prog outfit originally founded during the 1970s. In 2012, Falaise released his third solo album, S'Enfouir, which comprised 20 often mysterious ambient-tinged miniatures and, like his debut album Do, featured him multi-tracked with no participation from other musicians. ~ François Couture & Dave Lynch