Silène​-​Décade

by Claude Lassonde

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    Silene
    The god Silenus was the Phrygian genius of the sources, symbol of water; he had the gift of wisdom. He was a pleasure-seeking old man, always drunk, with a prominent pug nose, singing and laughing. In Greek mythology, Silenus (in old Greek Σειληνός / Seilênós) is a kind of satyr, adoptive father and tutor of the god Dionysos, who is always by his side. He is moreover the god of rapture, close to two other minor divinities of Dionysos’ following, Comos (Good Food) and Coros (Satiety) who, according to Herodotus, were born to Hybris (Excess). Like Dionysos, he was said to have been born in Nysa, in Asia. As with most satyrs, Silenus is considered a "son of Hermes". According to other traditions, he could have been the son of Pan and a nymph, or Pan and Gaïa (Earth) sired by the blood of mutilated Ouranos. Pan made a musical instrument to which he gave the name of Syrinx, also known as panpipes.

    There is an old legend that king Midas for a long time hunted the wise Silenus, the companion of Dionysus, in the forests, without catching him. When Silenus finally fell into the king’s hands, the king asked what was the best thing of all for men, the very finest. The daemon remained silent, motionless and inflexible, until, compelled by the king, he finally broke out into shrill laughter and said these words, ‘Suffering creature, born for a day, child of accident and toil, why are you forcing me to say what would give you the greatest pleasure not to hear? The very best thing for you is totally unreachable: not to have been born, not to exist, to be nothing. The second best thing for you, however, is this — to die soon.
    (Friedrich NIETZSCHE in The Birth of Tragedy, translation by Ian C. Johnston
    www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/tragedy_all.htm)

    The idea of Silène was inspired by mythology where wisdom, rapture, excess, mysticism, music and poetic imagery mix freely. The music of Silène is bound by no trends, whether past or present. It takes birth in the meeting of spirits communicating freely, without beacons or pre-established concepts. This free form invites the musicians to listen deeply and to react intensely, and by pure musical reflex, to the sound environment that surrounds them. It is only afterwards, upon playback, that we set our course towards an ecstatic soundscape.

    Ten years have passed, during which hours of extraordinary recordings were made and other experimental sound sources were collected in all directions. Selective listening guided us to this compilation of one decade’s worth of sounds. Certain features are disturbing, others illustrate a decadent side of our society, but they all contribute to one endeavour, to collect gestures with the profile of beauty.

    It is easy to think of improvisation as simple meeting of creative minds, but before that meeting came years of practice, development, studies, musical compositions and then the “play-sequence”. It is where, before improvising and recording, play-modes are established, proposals for the band to consider and which will become fodder for dialogues, trialogues and other forms of exchange. Those can be a range of notes, a rhythmic sequence, a set of tone colors or all of the above, joined together to form a call, a trigger or a recurrent pattern. The idea of the play-sequence is fundamental in the music of Silène. Because it is the power of the play-sequence that will form the basis of what will inspire each musician to develop and interact.

    Usually, the composer submits his ideas to the musicians, and they in turn, will find the most effective way to arrange the composer’s ideas. Contingencies of time and money are such that often only a fragment of the band’s artistic talent can be expressed. One can seldom record them over and over and choose the best take. With Silène - Décade, this process is reversed, with time and the multitude of soundtracks becoming inherent to the process of creation.

    In any group, there is always a leader that stands out to imprint a particular characteristic to the group’s personality. In Silène, Gilles gave his philosophical imprint while Claude set the musical structure of the unit. And they had the wisdom to attract collaborators with undeniable strengths.

    Another aspect worthy of mention is that of virtuosity. There is no doubt that each artist featured on this CD can be considered as a virtuoso in his field. However, this was never brought out casually or in a desire to shine. Rather, this virtuosity is introduced into the mix as part of an outburst or to bring the dialogue to a degree of voluble excitement, clarity and extreme fluidity.

    The music in Silène - Décade is characterized by a poetic quest. The personality is renewed in each piece and is distinguished by the particular form of instrumentation or contemporary “lutherie” which constitutes its sound pallet. Claude’s compositions seek to exploit with mysticism the particular aspect of the play modes inherent to the sound colors and their handling. The primary creative idea of each one is always evocative of mysterious worlds and the paths it inspired.

    Silène - Décade presents the listener with a retrospective of ten years of work in sound. Whether the listener enjoys the result or not, there can be little doubt as to the originality of the approach or the sum of efforts that went into its creation. The music is one that is at times calm, serene and dreamy, and at times mystifying or worrysome, but never inept or empty.

    Silène is a Montreal avant-garde jazz improvisation ensemble formed ten years ago :

    ---
    Claude Lassonde, composer, guitarist and musical leader of Silène.

    Claude Lassonde received his masters degree from the Faculty of Music of l’Université de Montréal. Among his teachers in composition: Serge Garant, Michel Longtin, André Prévost. He studied electroacoustics under Marcelle Deschênes and Francis Dhomont, and founded a young composers group named La Société des Concerts Alternatifs du Québec, known today as Code d’Accès, and was their president for several years. He was director of l’Association pour la Recherche Électroacoustique du Québec (ACREQ). He is an associate composer with the Canadian Music Centre. His compositions include works for orchestra, for various chamber music ensembles, computerized music and electroacoustics. Several renowned artists were associated with the creation of his works (in particular: Rina Lasnier of the French Canadian Academy, Jean-Jacques Nattiez, Lorraine Vaillancourt and Pauline Vaillancourt). Among several of his granted compositions, "Sentes aux abîmes des sens" was commissioned by the ACREQ and created at the opening of the electroacoustic series "Acousmonium" at the "New Music America" Festival.

    His musical compositions and interpretations have been recorded by the Société Radio-Canada (French CBC) and broadcast in Canada, the United States, Germany, Belgium and France. He has received awards and grants from the Canada Arts Council and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

    As a conductor, he has directed many ensembles, and as a guitarist, has played in several concerts on radio and television, including during the Montreal Olympic Games, for a concert rebroadcast live on ABC. Today, he prefers modern art and nurtures his musical spirit in diverse settings.

    Silène renders his musical passion in a song at times anarchistic where tenderness, love, aggression, violence and extravagance with the guitar synthesizer meet, and find themselves expressed in movements that are colorful, improvised and free.

    "Fascinated by contemporary “lutherie”, in love with free jazz and improvisation sessions, I remain nevertheless a purist, quite meticulous when it comes to composition. I compel myself with a discipline aimed at extracting the most intense musical elements from long sound research. Collector of sounds and sequences of improvisation, I then entrust those to data processing in order to reveal their explosive potential. The final phase of my work is always aimed at finding the simplest standardization key and the best notation of all. This allows for human interpretation, while making computerized musical structures of great complexity accessible. The resulting stylistic freedom provides the space for deliberately trying to escape from trends or well-established currents. Listeners seeking a moment out of time will find in this offering an intimate musical relationship where personal expression is revealed through the musical product of lengthy pondering.”

    ---
    Gilles Douaire, bass player of Silène. His style, clarity and great culture make Gilles the ideological leader of Silène. He was the lead guitarist for the Montreal band “Freakency”. He has developed a style both extravagant and contrary to all expectations. He discretely introduces intentional key changes inspired by his exceptional ear that listens like no other, and presents destabilizing counterpoints propelling the other musicians in new directions. He adores bizarre harmonic progressions and takes exception to stereotyped patterns. In addition to his musical career, Gilles has studied philosophy and electrical and computer engineering.


    “The musical play in Silène can be described as trialogue, quadralogue, quintalogue... However, that would be saying both too much and too little. On the one hand, the overall play stems from very little deliberate planning, being that it is improvised, transforming so-called “logos” into as many logorrheas; on the other hand, any collaboration among several musicians is influenced by yet another musical soul that, more often than not, becomes the more assertive one in the group. This other can be felt when, in the midst of a moment of clarity when we’re trying to build a well-defined structure as part of the improvisation, this obscure musician subverts the collective will, destabilizes us, surprises us... and will surprise potential listeners of these tracks. All things considered, this obscure musical visitor is the disincarnated and visceral expression of a shared and permanent will to surrender to momentary distraction. It is the guide that bravely leads us, from form to no form, and from no form back to form, along paths leading nowhere…”


    Other Musicians :

    -----
    Matthieu Bélanger, this Montreal clarinetist, appears on seven tracks of Silène - Décade (CD-2_1,2,3,5,6,7,8). Matthieu Bélanger, here with the bass clarinet, counts among the most talented clarinetists in Quebec as its discography testifies. He studied clarinet and piano at the Academy of Hull and at McGill University. He attended many master classes in New York with the saxophonist Patrick Brennan and with the pianist Kenny Werner, also in Banff with Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas and Kenny Werner.

    He obtained many grants in particular for Musicaction for its “Insomnia” CD. Several grants from the Canada Arts Council and from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He won the price for best musician and the price for best group “Ann Victor” in the Empire des futures stars event. In Geneva, at the Communauté des radios publiques de langue française (CRPLF): 1st Price, jazz category as conductor for the “Quatuor Jazz de Montréal”. In 1994, with the International Jazz Festival of Montreal: 1st Price of the contest of jazz Du Maurier, with the Normand Guilbeault Ensemble.

    ---
    Pierre Guillemette, saxophonist, Montreal, master degree in interpretation, saxophone, at the faculty of music of the University of Montreal. He appears on one track of Silène - Décade (CD-2_4). He took part in the Montreal Jazz Festival with his group of fusion jazz “Urbia”. He is also member of the fusion jazz group “Idem”. Multi instrumentalist, he plays just as easily, the saxophones, the flutes, the clarinets and the guitar. He teaches music, he directs choral societies, mainly as chief of choir for “La Clé des Champs”. He is also active as musician in studio recording sessions. He makes accompaniment and musical arrangement for several artists of reputation.

    ---
    Louis-Antoine Lassonde, Montreal double bass player, plays double bass with bow on Silène – Décade on one track (CD-2_1). Despite his youth, Louis-Antoine has already acquired a significant experience in the musical world. He has a master degree in interpretation, double bass, from the faculty of music of the University of Montreal. He was first desk for many classical and contemporary orchestras, under such conductors as Lorraine Vaillancourt, Jean-François Rivest, Agnes Grossman of the Orford Art Centre Orchestra. He has taken part in several tours in France, Greece, and locally. He was invited to join the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal for two of its Youth Concerts at the Place des Arts, Maisonneuve Hall. He was invited as a soloist for the Société Radio-Canada’s televised program "Faites vos gammes". He was also finalist in the Canadian Music Competition in 2001.

    ---
    Stephan Quednau, Montreal keyboard player, is Silène’s guest on three tracks (CD-1_7,10 and 11). Stephan studied piano at Laval University with Michele Royer before studying electric and computer engineering and working in that field for ten years. For a few years now, he has been working as an engineer repairing synthesizers and others printed circuits. His love of music includes Hard Bop, modern guitarists (Abercrombie, Holdsworth, Frisell) and funk. Invited by Claude on these recordings, Stephan also appears on CD in the electronic music album "Heptane Sun Quad" released by “Electron Music”.

    ---
    Alain Robert, Montreal drummer, percussionist, plays on all tracks of Silène – Décade. A true virtuoso, he has played drums since his early childhood. In Silène, he patiently follows the other musicians in their extravagant flourishes, and then generates cohesion. He floats in his own world of balance and rhythm, giving the group an exceptional, imaginative support. He excels in the play of sound colors and is a master of the cymbals. He has a sure, natural instinct that can anticipate the changes in the meandering improvisations. His play reveals a quasi scientific approach to the rhythmics of improvisation.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Silène-Décade via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ... more
    ships out within 2 days

      $25 CAD or more 

     

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about

Silene
The god Silenus was the Phrygian genius of the sources, symbol of water; he had the gift of wisdom. He was a pleasure-seeking old man, always drunk, with a prominent pug nose, singing and laughing. In Greek mythology, Silenus (in old Greek Σειληνός / Seilênós) is a kind of satyr, adoptive father and tutor of the god Dionysos, who is always by his side. He is moreover the god of rapture, close to two other minor divinities of Dionysos’ following, Comos (Good Food) and Coros (Satiety) who, according to Herodotus, were born to Hybris (Excess). Like Dionysos, he was said to have been born in Nysa, in Asia. As with most satyrs, Silenus is considered a "son of Hermes". According to other traditions, he could have been the son of Pan and a nymph, or Pan and Gaïa (Earth) sired by the blood of mutilated Ouranos. Pan made a musical instrument to which he gave the name of Syrinx, also known as panpipes.

There is an old legend that king Midas for a long time hunted the wise Silenus, the companion of Dionysus, in the forests, without catching him. When Silenus finally fell into the king’s hands, the king asked what was the best thing of all for men, the very finest. The daemon remained silent, motionless and inflexible, until, compelled by the king, he finally broke out into shrill laughter and said these words, ‘Suffering creature, born for a day, child of accident and toil, why are you forcing me to say what would give you the greatest pleasure not to hear? The very best thing for you is totally unreachable: not to have been born, not to exist, to be nothing. The second best thing for you, however, is this — to die soon.
(Friedrich NIETZSCHE in The Birth of Tragedy, translation by Ian C. Johnston
www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/tragedy_all.htm)

The idea of Silène was inspired by mythology where wisdom, rapture, excess, mysticism, music and poetic imagery mix freely. The music of Silène is bound by no trends, whether past or present. It takes birth in the meeting of spirits communicating freely, without beacons or pre-established concepts. This free form invites the musicians to listen deeply and to react intensely, and by pure musical reflex, to the sound environment that surrounds them. It is only afterwards, upon playback, that we set our course towards an ecstatic soundscape.

Ten years have passed, during which hours of extraordinary recordings were made and other experimental sound sources were collected in all directions. Selective listening guided us to this compilation of one decade’s worth of sounds. Certain features are disturbing, others illustrate a decadent side of our society, but they all contribute to one endeavour, to collect gestures with the profile of beauty.

It is easy to think of improvisation as simple meeting of creative minds, but before that meeting came years of practice, development, studies, musical compositions and then the “play-sequence”. It is where, before improvising and recording, play-modes are established, proposals for the band to consider and which will become fodder for dialogues, trialogues and other forms of exchange. Those can be a range of notes, a rhythmic sequence, a set of tone colors or all of the above, joined together to form a call, a trigger or a recurrent pattern. The idea of the play-sequence is fundamental in the music of Silène. Because it is the power of the play-sequence that will form the basis of what will inspire each musician to develop and interact.

Usually, the composer submits his ideas to the musicians, and they in turn, will find the most effective way to arrange the composer’s ideas. Contingencies of time and money are such that often only a fragment of the band’s artistic talent can be expressed. One can seldom record them over and over and choose the best take. With Silène - Décade, this process is reversed, with time and the multitude of soundtracks becoming inherent to the process of creation.

In any group, there is always a leader that stands out to imprint a particular characteristic to the group’s personality. In Silène, Gilles gave his philosophical imprint while Claude set the musical structure of the unit. And they had the wisdom to attract collaborators with undeniable strengths.

Another aspect worthy of mention is that of virtuosity. There is no doubt that each artist featured on this CD can be considered as a virtuoso in his field. However, this was never brought out casually or in a desire to shine. Rather, this virtuosity is introduced into the mix as part of an outburst or to bring the dialogue to a degree of voluble excitement, clarity and extreme fluidity.

The music in Silène - Décade is characterized by a poetic quest. The personality is renewed in each piece and is distinguished by the particular form of instrumentation or contemporary “lutherie” which constitutes its sound pallet. Claude’s compositions seek to exploit with mysticism the particular aspect of the play modes inherent to the sound colors and their handling. The primary creative idea of each one is always evocative of mysterious worlds and the paths it inspired.

Silène - Décade presents the listener with a retrospective of ten years of work in sound. Whether the listener enjoys the result or not, there can be little doubt as to the originality of the approach or the sum of efforts that went into its creation. The music is one that is at times calm, serene and dreamy, and at times mystifying or worrysome, but never inept or empty.

credits

released July 1, 2009

Silène is a Montreal avant-garde jazz improvisation ensemble formed now more then 20 years ago around the trio of Giles Douaire on bass, Claude Lassonde on guitar-synth, compositions and mixing, Alain Robert on drums :

Claude Lassonde, composer, guitarist and musical leader of Silène.

Claude Lassonde received his masters degree from the Faculty of Music of l’Université de Montréal. Among his teachers in composition: Serge Garant, Michel Longtin, André Prévost. He studied electroacoustics under Marcelle Deschênes and Francis Dhomont, and founded a young composers group named La Société des Concerts Alternatifs du Québec, known today as Code d’Accès, and was their president for several years. He was director of l’Association pour la Recherche Électroacoustique du Québec (ACREQ). He is an associate composer with the Canadian Music Centre. His compositions include works for orchestra, for various chamber music ensembles, computerized music and electroacoustics. Several renowned artists were associated with the creation of his works (in particular: Rina Lasnier of the French Canadian Academy, Jean-Jacques Nattiez, Lorraine Vaillancourt and Pauline Vaillancourt). Among several of his granted compositions, "Sentes aux abîmes des sens" was commissioned by the ACREQ and created at the opening of the electroacoustic series "Acousmonium" at the "New Music America" Festival.

His musical compositions and interpretations have been recorded by the Société Radio-Canada (French CBC) and broadcast in Canada, the United States, Germany, Belgium and France. He has received awards and grants from the Canada Arts Council and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

As a conductor, he has directed many ensembles, and as a guitarist, has played in several concerts on radio and television, including during the Montreal Olympic Games, for a concert rebroadcast live on ABC. Today, he prefers modern art and nurtures his musical spirit in diverse settings.

Silène renders his musical passion in a song at times anarchistic where tenderness, love, aggression, violence and extravagance with the guitar synthesizer meet, and find themselves expressed in movements that are colorful, improvised and free.

"Fascinated by contemporary “lutherie”, in love with free jazz and improvisation sessions, I remain nevertheless a purist, quite meticulous when it comes to composition. I compel myself with a discipline aimed at extracting the most intense musical elements from long sound research. Collector of sounds and sequences of improvisation, I then entrust those to data processing in order to reveal their explosive potential. The final phase of my work is always aimed at finding the simplest standardization key and the best notation of all. This allows for human interpretation, while making computerized musical structures of great complexity accessible. The resulting stylistic freedom provides the space for deliberately trying to escape from trends or well-established currents. Listeners seeking a moment out of time will find in this offering an intimate musical relationship where personal expression is revealed through the musical product of lengthy pondering.”


Gilles Douaire, bass player of Silène. His style, clarity and great culture make Gilles the ideological leader of Silène. He was the lead guitarist for the Montreal band “Freakency”. He has developed a style both extravagant and contrary to all expectations. He discretely introduces intentional key changes inspired by his exceptional ear that listens like no other, and presents destabilizing counterpoints propelling the other musicians in new directions. He adores bizarre harmonic progressions and takes exception to stereotyped patterns. In addition to his musical career, Gilles has studied philosophy and electrical and computer engineering.


“The musical play in Silène can be described as trialogue, quadralogue, quintalogue... However, that would be saying both too much and too little. On the one hand, the overall play stems from very little deliberate planning, being that it is improvised, transforming so-called “logos” into as many logorrheas; on the other hand, any collaboration among several musicians is influenced by yet another musical soul that, more often than not, becomes the more assertive one in the group. This other can be felt when, in the midst of a moment of clarity when we’re trying to build a well-defined structure as part of the improvisation, this obscure musician subverts the collective will, destabilizes us, surprises us... and will surprise potential listeners of these tracks. All things considered, this obscure musical visitor is the disincarnated and visceral expression of a shared and permanent will to surrender to momentary distraction. It is the guide that bravely leads us, from form to no form, and from no form back to form, along paths leading nowhere…”


Musicians:


Matthieu Bélanger, this Montreal clarinetist, appears on seven tracks of Silène - Décade (CD-2_1,2,3,5,6,7,8). Matthieu Bélanger, here with the bass clarinet, counts among the most talented clarinetists in Quebec as its discography testifies. He studied clarinet and piano at the Academy of Hull and at McGill University. He attended many master classes in New York with the saxophonist Patrick Brennan and with the pianist Kenny Werner, also in Banff with Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas and Kenny Werner.

He obtained many grants in particular for Musicaction for its “Insomnia” CD. Several grants from the Canada Arts Council and from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He won the price for best musician and the price for best group “Ann Victor” in the Empire des futures stars event. In Geneva, at the Communauté des radios publiques de langue française (CRPLF): 1st Price, jazz category as conductor for the “Quatuor Jazz de Montréal”. In 1994, with the International Jazz Festival of Montreal: 1st Price of the contest of jazz Du Maurier, with the Normand Guilbeault Ensemble.


Pierre Guillemette, saxophonist, Montreal, master degree in interpretation, saxophone, at the faculty of music of the University of Montreal. He appears on one track of Silène - Décade (CD-2_4). He took part in the Montreal Jazz Festival with his group of fusion jazz “Urbia”. He is also member of the fusion jazz group “Idem”. Multi instrumentalist, he plays just as easily, the saxophones, the flutes, the clarinets and the guitar. He teaches music, he directs choral societies, mainly as chief of choir for “La Clé des Champs”. He is also active as musician in studio recording sessions. He makes accompaniment and musical arrangement for several artists of reputation.


Louis-Antoine Lassonde, Montreal double bass player, plays double bass with bow on Silène – Décade on one track (CD-2_1). Despite his youth, Louis-Antoine has already acquired a significant experience in the musical world. He has a master degree in interpretation, double bass, from the faculty of music of the University of Montreal. He was first desk for many classical and contemporary orchestras, under such conductors as Lorraine Vaillancourt, Jean-François Rivest, Agnes Grossman of the Orford Art Centre Orchestra. He has taken part in several tours in France, Greece, and locally. He was invited to join the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal for two of its Youth Concerts at the Place des Arts, Maisonneuve Hall. He was invited as a soloist for the Société Radio-Canada’s televised program "Faites vos gammes". He was also finalist in the Canadian Music Competition in 2001.


Stephan Quednau, Montreal keyboard player, is Silène’s guest on three tracks (CD-1_7,10 and 11). Stephan studied piano at Laval University with Michele Royer before studying electric and computer engineering and working in that field for ten years. For a few years now, he has been working as an engineer repairing synthesizers and others printed circuits. His love of music includes Hard Bop, modern guitarists (Abercrombie, Holdsworth, Frisell) and funk. Invited by Claude on these recordings, Stephan also appears on CD in the electronic music album "Heptane Sun Quad" released by “Electron Music”.


Alain Robert, Montreal drummer, percussionist, plays on all tracks of Silène – Décade. A true virtuoso, he has played drums since his early childhood. In Silène, he patiently follows the other musicians in their extravagant flourishes, and then generates cohesion. He floats in his own world of balance and rhythm, giving the group an exceptional, imaginative support. He excels in the play of sound colors and is a master of the cymbals. He has a sure, natural instinct that can anticipate the changes in the meandering improvisations. His play reveals a quasi scientific approach to the rhythmics of improvisation.

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about

Silène Montreal, Québec

Claude Lassonde, Montreal, 1955
Composer

Studies at Montreal University faculty of music, master degree in musical composition with Serge Garant, Michel Longtin, André Prévost, Marcelle Deschênes and Francis Dhomont.

Concert master in classical guitar and gifted guitar improviser in free jazz.

The catalog contains pieces for orchestra, chamber music, instrumental, electroacoustic music.
... more

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