No Hay Banda is a Montreal-based band that explores the still (and always will be) uncharted continents of avant-garde and contemporary experimental music. Notable collaborations with Ida Toninato, alcides lanza and Vinko Globokar are part of their impressive portfolio. Here they are with a selection of ambitious works (the shortest is 17 minutes) by four Canadian composers, two men and two women.
An Overall Augmented Sense of Well-being is a proposal by Anthony Tan in which noisy drones are occasionally punctuated by detonating projections. Like a great 30-minute sound cloud in perpetual metamorphosis, we are assailed intensely, and often, but a few weather breaks offer us, here and there, fragments of lyricism or episodes of more agitated turbulence.
In Rubber Houses, Vancouver’s Sabrina Schroeder plunges us into a vaguely industrial environment, with echoes of hydraulic machinery. That said, the sonic space, though textural and physical, is gently deployed, as if in the background. It lasts a good ten minutes before radically transforming into an ambient drone with sparse sensory enamels, plunging us into a parallel universe, a sort of negative mirror of the first part.
Montreal’s Andrea Young offers perhaps the most “traditionally contemporary” piece of the lot with A Moment or Two of Panic. A solo voice (Sarah Albu of No Hay Banda) levitates above a generally quiet but bristling chamber score, where a few bursts of electronic incandescence disrupt the panorama with intensity. A work that Montreal’s NEM would certainly like to take over.
Mauricio Pauly, originally from Costa Rica but now based in Vancouver and at Simon Fraser University, is represented by the piece The Difference is the Buildings Between Us. The piece develops in a tangle of organic sounds, electro cooing, white noise in the background and other neo-musique concrète ambient textures. Pauly offers a most surprising finale: almost Rachmaninovian piano chords give the final ‘’classical’’ touch to a most singular adventure.