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papa boa

If your listening tastes run to punk rock or wilder jazz, Tête à queue will be the best and most enjoyable opportunity to get your foot in the Ambiances Magnetiques door, figuratively speaking. This musique-actuelle ensemble, based in Montreal, deals heavily in improvisation; material is created and recorded on the fly, then dismantled, reassembled, sampled, manipulated and augmented by further improvisation. While such a process could easily produce compositions that sound less like music and more like a brain-damaged giraffe loose in a cookware shop, Papa Boa's recognizable use of rock and jazz trappings -- conventional applications of guitar, bass, keyboards, sax, flute, etc. -- should make it easier for new listeners to understand and appreciate the creative methodology involved in the bi-directional transition from chaos to order. Tête à queue frequently rocks, albeit in a lurching, chaotic and exhilarating fashion (and isn't that the best way?), as on the frenzied "Champêtre" or the syncopated seether "La mer à boire". There are quieter and more esoteric moments, too, but the overall approachability of the disc makes even its less distinctly musical elements seem far more immediate. If you've ever been curious about musique actuelle, electro-acoustic composition or Ambiances Magnetiques, you'll find Tête à queue to be a perfect diving board, plunging you into a deep and fascinating pool of music and ideas.

Papa Boa
Tête à Queue
Ambiances Magnetiques
CD

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Review by Georges Zahora

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