AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Gilles Gobeil – Le contrat (with René Lussier) (2003; empreintes DIGITALes)

Le contrat is billed as a Gilles Gobeil / René Lussier record and was released in 2003.  The sheer density of musical content on this record is insane.  Both musicians are on top of their game and, while they both have lots of room to flaunt their talents while the other sits out (Lussier has several solo electric and acoustic guitar pieces on this album), it’s the collaborations that really shine for me.  Lussier’s off-kilter, dangerously spikey guitar workouts combined with Gobeil’s incredibly dynamic, acousmatic agitations work extremely well together.

Imagine taking a personal, solitary tour of Le Théatre du Grand-Guignol after partaking in an Absinthe ritual and then dosing yourself with LSD… (While never actually doing any of those things…this was the closest I could imagine to an analog of surrendering yourself to complete and utter sensory overload.) that is the sonic/cerebral/psychic journey that Le contrat lays out for you.

Or, you can think of Le contrat as a massive, 70 minute panoramic mural that can be transversed in a myriad of ways depending on your general state of mind at the time.  Always a beginning (start anywhere), always an ending (end anywhere)…it’s everything else that is in a constant state of flux.  Like a frenetic ever morphing John Zorn composition, Gobeil and Lussier fabricate color after color, landscape after landscape, exploding mutation after exploding mutation.  Finally, it’s all over with a human mimicking a cat’s meow, a cat that was incessantly meowing, whining, and caterwauling during various parts within this aural mural.  Was this all a great and giant joke to begin with…I think the cat MUST know the answer!

Or, you can think of Le contrat as an opening.  An opening of a door, a window, a mind or, of a self.  A crusade or quest that, if you choose to take, can lead to the unexpected.  A Dunsany-esque odyssey that is both universal, as well as completely personal.  In this case, Le contrat is your vessel…a vessel that may, or may not protect you from what you find.

Have a small tincture, you know you want it!

Whether you think of him as a boffin dabbling in the dark arts, or a sound scientist searching for new ways to alter the mind, or maybe a little of both, I’m certain that Gilles Gobeil is one of the top acousmatic alchemists in the scene.  Any one of these records would be an excellent departure point and they all come very highly recommended depending on where you want to start on his path.  Take the first step, you won’t be sorry.

Mike Eisenberg