Philippe Lauzier

A Pond in my Living Room
SOFA 556

By Ken Waxman

Exploring the sophisticated capacities of overdubbing, Montreal-based bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier has created a multi-layered program, which emphasizes not only the reedy tones but also the consolidated air currents emanating from his instrument. Like an action painter who works in oils though, Lauzier thickens his timbres in such a way as to bring out new perceptions of depth and form.

This sfumato-like strategy is most conspicuous on the concluding Napping in a Neglected Garden, as a series of reed lines are introduced is sequence, and then gradually blend in translucent fashion, with some slightly off pitch and others soothingly communicative. As the textures spread out, the connective result is both cushioned and airy. This doesn’t mean that rapport always take precedent over rasping throughout the CD however. Sudden mouth movements and split tones reorient many massed choir-like sound sequences to prevent them from vibrating as mere languid textures. Fuzzy air crackles and sudden tongue slaps challenge them without replacing Baroque-like fluttering modulations on On the Window Side for instance, so that the final section is focused blowing. Meanwhile on the lengthy Blue Pénombre, with every tone partial extended and accented, the narrative gradually thickens until waveform-like drones are bisected by crackling static and woody contralto bass clarinet timbres.

Ambient and reductionist without being vapid, Lauzier’s creations on A Pond in my Living Room also impress without noisy braggadocio. Prominent in groups such as Sainct Lauerens and Quarteski as well as on his own, what challenges will the reedist now set himself? Certainly ones to which listening in will be no hardship.

-For MusicWorks #128 Summer/Fall 2017