Le Peuplier de Simon: Cheers to the Seasons
Digitalis / Natacha's

Cheers to the Seasons, the debut CD by Montreal-based electronic collagist Simon Belair, weaves field recordings, old vinyl, radio signals, electronics, clarinet, and piano into multi-textured, occasionally meandering settings that do evoke the becalmed splendor of a summer evening, among other things. There are some good moments here: samples and loops nicely cohere into stuttering haze in “Afterhours,” spiraling Ayler-like saxophones render the balladic “L'air chaud du marantz” memorable, and church-like tones and a female's undulating vocal give “Les saisons ésotériques” a hymnal air, though the potentially lovely effect is compromised by the needless inclusion of excess noise; “Les oiseaux et les motos” even manages a hiccupping semblance of minimal techno. Some of it's a little too freeform, though; with its wayward electronic babble and chatter, “Goodbye” ends up sounding a bit too much like a patchwork bedroom experiment. To his credit, Belair keeps the pace unhurried and the development organic in his nine pieces, but a slightly less loose approach to compositional form might be better the next time around.

September 2007