Country : Canada (Quebec) Label : Poulet Neige Genres and styles : Chamber Pop / Contemporary / Contemporary Jazz / Singer-Songwriter Year : 2020

(les) méandres de la soif

· by Alain Brunet

Under the alias Barrdo, Pierre Alexandre launched himself body and soul into his chamber pop with multiple inspirations, by far the most ambitious project of a still young career. Psychedelia, minimalism, jazz-rock from the Bitches Brew/In a Silent Way/Sextant era, Gainsbourg pop, prog rock, contemporary Messiaenic or Schoenbergian music, Zappa’s orchestral rock, arrangements à la George Martin in the service of the Beatles, and other Jagga Jazzist-style twists, are among the stylistic references… not to mention the key projects of Quebec orchestral pop: Jean-Pierre Ferland’s Jaune, Harmonium’s L’Heptade arranged by Neil Chotem, l’Infonie… Phew! 

For these sessions at Studio B-12 in Valcourt, Alexandre assembled drummer Olivier Laroche, bassist-guitarist David Bujold (with whom he also performs under the FUUDGE banner), and guitarist Nicolas Ferron-Geoffroy. Rounding out this core group of musicians are a four-voice choir (Alex Guimond, Judith Little, Sam Beaulé, David Bujold), a string trio (Louis-Solem Pérôt, cello, Catherine Mailloux, violin, and Sarah-Ève Vigneault, viola), Jérôme Dupuis-Cloutier’s trumpet, and François Viault’s bassoon. With the recruitment of this small army, what we have here is an ambitious presentation integrating the musical background of each one through his classical, jazz, pop, and rock training. Let’s salute this pharaonic and, let’s say it, slightly shambolic initiative of Alexandre’s. One can understand this jubilant tangent, seeing the bowl of treats that constitute the human resources exploited here. 

In recent years, Antoine Corriveau and Philippe Brach have also made their “pop keb de chambre” trip, inspired by an anthology of classical productions. Here’s another one that makes its mark on keb songcraft. Once again, we can see that many musicians of this generation can count on a solid musical education and even dare to integrate radical elements to chansonnier forms. However, anyone familiar with these multiple references will not be confused, as they are clearly identifiable and are part of the same indie movement involving chamber music since the dawn of this millennium. For lovers of keb songs, this exploration remains exceptional, and serves all the more Pierre Alexandre’s poetic purposes: elevation, exploration, change… not really romance.

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