Review of 8 paintings, by Flore Laurentienne | From the painting of Riopelle to the sounds of Flore Laurentienne

If the “sound studio” installed last November at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) for Flore Laurentienne’s residency was visually impressive and colossal, the artist’s new album which resulted, 8 paintings, is a reflection of the research carried out by the artist during this period.

Sophisticated, complex, organic sounds… Mathieu David Gagnon’s opus focuses on the range of colors and sound textures that can be produced by the analog Moog synthesizers that inhabited the space of his MMFA residency. The experience is total and successful: the work on volumes, frequencies, rhythms creates hushed, airy, mysterious and, above all, contemplative atmospheres. The listener will need to listen attentively to appreciate the project and, if possible, using a good stereo or headphones. This is how we understand all the subtleties of Flore Laurentienne’s new production.

The title, 8 paintings, immediately refers to the visual arts, which is not insignificant. It refers directly to the artist’s inspiration, the works of Jean Paul Riopelle. And more precisely, those which were installed on the walls of the Museum’s “sound studio” for the occasion. In other words, when composing, the musician simultaneously scrutinized paintings and lithographs.

Read our article on the artist’s approach at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Mathieu David Gagnon chose to exploit the technical possibilities of the analog synthesizers he had at his disposal by proceeding by accumulating layers of sounds and adding new notes as the pieces progressed. This is the case, among others, for parts At sunset Or Goose Island.

If this way of composing is reflected throughout the album, it is also what emerges from Riopelle’s creations, namely the multi-layered surfaces. Therein lies the interest of the project: each track is an opportunity to interpret one of the painter’s visual creations. In Austria III, we seem to be able to browse the eponymous canvas from right to left. The music begins with sporadic, stuttering and assertive guitar chords which are then replaced by discreet sound textures, before returning in force and mixing with other types of sounds. The blue night reveals crackling effects, in dark tones, which recall the points and lines of Riopelle’s composition.

The entire album offers aerial ambiances without beginning or end, like the all over of an abstract work. This idea reaches its climax when we notice that the opus forms a loop: the first piece, Anchor, and the last, Blue-green (green of blue) are the same.

Mathieu David Gagnon is known for his work linked to nature and, at the same time, Riopelle was also greatly inspired by it to create. However, the new opus does not fall into commonplaces. Thanks to the potential of the different analog synthesizers used, the album 8 paintings renews the sound of Flore Laurentienne.

Extract of The blue night

8 paintings

Instrumental music

8 paintings

Laurentian Flora

Secret City Records



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