4 of 4 thought this review was well writtenCaniche Hara-Kiri
04. Femme de Glace
08. M. Arbre
Caniche Hara-Kiri is an ambient experimental-jazz group that may appear to the ordinary mind-state and generic musical taste frivolous. But, for the truly open-minded, (and the French-speaking, although this is not a necessary trait) it is a rare and delectable musical treat. Expect lush soundscapes painted aurally with silvern, vaporous vocals and ambient atmospheres that range from ambrosial to chilling. Expect "shock-surrealist" lyrics from Bouchard's capricious mind. Expect uniqueness with not equate.
Caniche Hara-Kiri is:
Anick Bouchard - voice, keyboard, lyrics, composition
Benjamin Proulx-Mathers - guitar, saxophone, electronics, composition
Valérie Nadon - voice, keyboard
Laurent Desjardins - bass, double bass
Moïa Jobin-Paré - drums
Maxime Bouchard - bass, accordion
Guillaume Duchesneau - violin
Others who did work with Emponym:
(These are not permanent band members.)
Guido Del Fabbro: violin on "Peines"
Gaelle Huard: viola on "Peines" and "M. Arbre"
Barah Héon-Morissette: marimba on "Femme de Glace"
Bernard Grenon: Fabbro's assistant/ assorted mixing work
Jim Rabchuk: mastering
Simon Bossé & Milf Putois: packaging, CD and CD case design
I am reviewing their first, and only release thus far. Please don't be too rough on me for my briefness and poorly-conveyed descriptions. This is my first review.
I choose to give a percent score at the end instead of the traditional 1 - 10 scale score as I find this too discrete.
A brief moment of wispy ambience is shattered by Moïa's crisp, trebly beat as the first, and shortest track of Emponym commences. Anick's vocals oscillate between a semi-boisterous trip-hop locution, and meshing harmonies whilst ambience constricts and dilates systematically. As the music progresses onward, we're treated with a little Guillaume violin intermezzo as the song ends on a harmonic, airy vocal interval.
Gorgeous! This song, being the longest track on the album, opens with a long intro spangled with ambience both electronic-wise and guitar-wise before a sly drum beat creeps in. Benjamin's creativity with his guitar is exhibited profoundly here. His ethereal, meandering chordal work builds a warm atmosphere before Anick's smooth, liquored vocals are incorporated. Peines, and the music in general, really, is a perfect example of a singer who truly "feels the lyrics." Anick sings with a perfect volume of expression; that is, she is neither too austere nor too fervid, and she seems very contemplative over what she's trying to convey. The violin plays an integral role in this piece as it carols in a river of musical expression, crystallized into a palpable aura. I love the vocal harmonization (made possible by Valérie) in the chorus as it really incites great karma-feel. Intensity amasses at 5:51 as the chorus is reinstated, more stately. At approximately 7:25, the song becomes fatigued, and sad harmonies couple with high, non-pitched ambience to create a peaceful ending.
Saxophones belch impertinently - a crime of Benjamin's - in subtle crescendos until Anick begins vocalizing, almost a capella, having subtle sax chords breezing to and fro, and curious bass prodding here and there. She continues to sing her pleasure
with feeling until the rest of the band becomes fully ingrown, quite heavily by Caniche Hara-Kiri's standards. I love the guitar's passionate soaring, the somewhat-distorted bass' sludgy inertia, and the drums' steady, pushing force. The song calms down again into a gentle fog of guitar demisemiquaver triplets (at least, that's what it sounds like) with an ambient drizzle. Anick begins to sing again - very expressive - and the snare drum is played with a brush. Benjamin and another provide accompaniment and soon the song ends the song with a sudden air of loneliness.
04. Femme de Glace
A simple, ghostly marimba repetition hatches the most enigmatic track of the album. The vocals here are as eerie as they are indescribable. Anick herein sings in a style that can only be compared to that of an alien; an otherworldly being. To some, it could be perceived as frightening, with ghastly wavering, probably produced by tremolo vibrations of the vocal chords. I'm really not sure how she does it at all. For anyone who has any interest in bizarre vocals, or simply any taste for the experimental vein of music, this must
The marimba, upright bass, guitar, and violin impinge and meld together to create an alarming dark ambience, intensified by a high vocal note at several points throughout the piece. The song structure is bizarre, frequently returning to the shrieking alien-voice high note and cauterized atmospheric pressure.
Once again, I have never
heard vocals like these. I have puzzled endlessly over them, trying to ascertain the method by which they are produced, and I can't do it. My guess is that it has something to do with causing the larynx to vibrate excessively, but that's it.
The track is cruelly jerked onward, with the marimba being a subtle, but still driving force, until eventually smoldering at the end in a toxic smog of dark ambience, lone violin pitches and tremolo guitar picking.
An amusing track of somewhat humorous nature. Tasty scratching, suckling sounds couple with ambience, acoustic guitar strumming, and upright bass. Anick assumes a storytelling disposition and vocal style in this piece. Like in Raquettes, she oscillates again. This time between monotonous (and I don't use this word negatively) singing and spoken narration. The music, I find, is very reminiscent of John Zorn's The Dead Man, in that it is very avant-garde and having abstract rhythm, at sections such as the "le p'tits trous" one. The song climaxes on and off with upward-climbing chord progression and fairly high half-singing. The music stops stops completely, around 3:35, admitting an a capella spoken section. The band cuts back in dreamily, and soon ends rather abruptly.
A drum beat, reminding me of a cross between something of both Latin and African origin, is joined quickly by some pretty deep singing on Anick's part. She hits an E3 at 0:33, which is outside of the range of most women. The instrumentation is comparatively thin (again, I don't use this word negatively) until 1:45, when a strange hissing sound and something that sounds like a wind chime weave arithmetically ethereal surroundings. A short solo is played on an instrument that I believe is an accordion, which is of Maxime's doing. This all interfuses into a molten, aqueous broth until a lonely bassline brings the piece to a close.
For an intro, the violin alluringly licks your ears over Moïa's sapid percussion. The singing, being harmonized within what sounds like a lot of major 6'ths, begins directly thereafter. Truly expressive singing artistry is again exhibited at 1:33. Here, I want to close my eyes; imaging myself in a hazy dream, on an abstract island, trodding on a blue-sanded beach, and staring into the oblique raindrops and glossy ocean. A sickle moon tears the sobbing sky. A tepid, contoured wind compels the trees to riddle me a beseeching whisper.
The vaporous music evaporates into a stormy section at 2:20. The guitar is played brashly, symbols are crashed, and a sax expels a distressed squall. Then, a gradual fade.
08. M. Arbre
A perfect end to a perfect album. The song is slow, emotional, contemplative. Never have I seen such an example of how simplicity can be so heart-meltingly beauteous. Words, with their limits of variation and rendition serve merely as a concrete impediment when used to attempt to describe this song.
The voice begins instantly, accompanied only by Laurent's bass until the chorus, where a mournful violin offers what it can to the elegy. The song continues in the manner for a while, before pressure begins to boil via timpani rolls and increasingly passionate vocals. I cannot say enough how much I love Anick's voice, and how much I drool over high low-range alto-tenor output and expressive musical faculty of execution.
A instrumental section, quite possible written in free time occurs after "nulle part" is sang. A violin cries, piano notes creak almost randomly, and the same can be said for the percussion. The violin cries out again, more determined as the music cools down, allowing the vocals repassage. The piece trudges on in the same fashion it did before, but is soon joined by a male vocalist during a multi-repetition of the chorus. The chorus grows exponentially determined with each encore, with passion and expression elevating continually. After a final chorus cycle, the vocals somberly fade into floaty violin, guitar and upright bass, and the album wilts into the same wispy ambience from which it originated.
The only possible negative thing I can come up with concerning this album is that it has to eventually end. I could also add that the disc isn't all that long, but that's not something I think deserves a decrease of marks.
Official website: http://www.caniche.ca
Myspace profile: http://www.myspace.com/canicheharakiri
Unfortunately, Femme de Glace isn't available on either of those. If anyone is interested, I can email the unfinal
version (I refuse to distribute the final, CD version) to you.
CD can be bought here: http://sopref.org/cart/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&cPath=1&pro ducts_id=459