Electronic / Funk / House / Jazz / Techno

Marc Rebillet: Setting Fire to the Snow

by Alain Brunet

Until 9 pm, the Igloofest playground slowly filled up. Thursday evening saw the return of the container-stocked venues, now transformed into multi-purpose structures (terraces, screens, bars, etc.) Four consecutive weekends began on Thursday, January 18, with a succession of DJ producers who clearly didn’t stand out from the crowd, and then…

For those who think that Igloofest has become an event whose programming is definitively formatted, here’s a striking counter-example … or a convincing example of the still quivering audacity of its artistic direction: the hour spent with Marc Rebillet that can’t be compared to any of the (thousands of) sets presented at Igloofest since its foundation in 2007.

Lightly clad, the guy opens hostilities with a thunderous “Why the fuck is it so hot here!” It was below -10 degrees on the crowd floor, but on stage, it was visibly hot! Born of a French father and an American mother, the American artist is one of the rare creatures of the electronic movement to offer such an hour of improvisation.

Marc Rebillet appears before the thousands of one-pieces and their occupants with his provocative looks, but also with his uncommon ability to improvise in real-time: with his electronic equipment, needless to say, but also with keyboards and his voice, the powerful voice of a pop-soul singer.

He triggers a house beat, techno beat, or a more tribal one, with which he can juxtapose voices in real-time. He can howl at the moon or improvise a melodic line, he can loop a series of chords laid over a rhythmic framework, he can swing engine rumblings, he can harangue the crowd and provoke it with absurd humour, especially when he screeches in impeccable French (with a charming accent) that he doesn’t speak French.

His harmonic jazz and funk keyboards add even more depth to his show, which is clearly atypical in the context of Igloofest. Few artists of this kind are capable of capturing attention by stopping the machines for long minutes and slipping in very simple vocal melodies or other borborygmus, then restarting the party to the delight of festival-goers. What a beast! And that’s a promise of things to come, for there are still 11 evenings left of Igloofest, where fire can burn through ice.

Photo Credit: Madeleine Plamondon

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