Canadian composer, Mathieu David Gagnon, releases a sophomore album of symphonic selections, Volume II, today, care of NYC`s RVNG Intl. Music composed, and collected, under his Flore Laurentienne moniker, and inspired by the natural landscape of this native Quebec, and in particular the St. Lawrence River. The pieces make use of both acoustic – for example, piano, and clarinet – and electronic instruments. The latter being vintage synths, such as a Minimoog Model D, EMS Synthi and Combo organs. Sometimes these elements are kept separate, but more often than not, they’re combined. The machines adding theremin-like tones, modular manipulations, to the moving orchestral pieces. An 18-member-strong ensemble supplying the strings, which cycle, swoon, and waltz, in a super romantic manner.
There are no pretensions to be anything “post-“, or “avant”. This is “old fashioned” classical – Mathieu cites Johann Sebastian Bach as a key influence – albeit assisted by the the odd analog sound-effect. Splashes of `50s Sci-Fi detail, a la Frank Comstock`s Novachord-laced visions of outer space, splicing some extra Technicolor to Mathieu`s already cinematic themes.
Everything is totally accessible, easy on the ear, and light of heart. Countering gently rippling waves of piano repetition with more urgent pizzicato. Kamouraska is sort of hymnal, featuring a wheezing harmonium-like drone. Fleuve V (léger retour), the closing track, perhaps starts a little sad, but spirals upward, triumphant. Its melody, climbing, not crying.
Flore Laurentienne`s Volume II is released today, on RVNG Intl.