Exploring the sophisticated capacities of overdubbing, Montreal-based bass clarinettist Philippe Lauzier has created a multilayered 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, 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 in sequence, then gradually blended in translucent fashion, with some of them slightly off pitch and others soothingly communicative. As the textures spread out, the connective result is both cushioned and airy. This, however, doesn’t mean that rapport always takes precedence over rasping throughout the CD. 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 bas-clarinet timbres.
Ambient and reductionist without being vapid, Lauzier’s creations on A Pond in my Living Room also impress without noisy braggadocio. What challenges will this reedist, who is prominent in groups such as Sainct [sic] Laurens and Quartetski, as well as on his own, now set himself? Certainly they will be no hardship to listen to.