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Album Review

In early 1995, Montreal avant-garde guitarist René Lussier flew to Vancouver, bringing with him drummer Pierre Tanguay, to meet with the NOW Orchestra. Recorded in the studio over two days, Le Tour du Bloc (Around the Block) is proof that the orchestra learned all of Lussier's tricks. This CD makes a great companion to the guitarist's previous album Le Corps de L'ouvrage, only expanding the sound palette, thanks to the 15-piece ensemble. The music is filled with stop-and-go signals, humorous circus-like licks, opposite melodies clashing into cacophony, and complex counterpuntal figures ending on ludicrous resolutions. "Première Course" and "Le Tour du Bloc" are typical fast-paced pieces, full of twists and turns. "Call Now" takes a more subtle form, developing nice contrasting motifs. "Y'a Rien de Facile" is a bombastic show closer defused by a long fade out. Le Tour du Bloc features strong musical performances by Lussier and Tanguay, but also by John Korsrud (trumpet), Peggy Lee (cello), jazz pianist Paul Plimley, and Kate Hammett-Vaughan on vocals. Even though this album represents a singular experience for Lussier, it remains true to the style he developed in his early-'90s projects. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Throughout the 1980s and most of the '90s, René Lussier was the prime mover on Montreal's new music scene. His guitar work has been compared to Fred Frith, with whom he has often toured and recorded. Spread between solo work, duos, and large ensemble pieces, between studio compositions, structured improvisation, free improv, and film music, his impressive body of work represents a full course in musique actuelle, a term he helped to peg down. His masterpiece remains the speech-music collage Le Trésor...
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Le Tour du Bloc, René Lussier
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