Philippe Lauzier and Éric Normand FIMAV, Victoriaville QC, May 18

Philippe Lauzier and Éric Normand FIMAV, Victoriaville QC, May 18
Photo: Martin Morissette
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A strong opening and closing can really make a performance, and that is where Montreal's Philippe Lauzier and Rimouski's Éric Normand really earned respect in their improvised set.
 
Ominously beginning with a gyrating mechanical device set atop a drum snare, the duo emerged from within the rumble and picked their way through a variety of strategies on electric bass and bass clarinet. Lauzier's extended technique involved percussive work on the instrument's body, and the occasional disassembly, in order to alter the clarinet's tones and frequencies. For his part, Normand spent the first half of the performance impacting his bass with a wide array of objects, from small metal tubes to battery powered fans, to provide blunt percussive elements to the sound.
 
From just after midpoint to the end of the show, the duo found their stride, with Lauzier playing from a seated position at a slight remove from the microphone, filling the space with whole constellations of notes. Meanwhile, Normand turned his bass into a low frequency signal generator, like a space probe exploring constellations for signs of life.
 
The show culminated in a return to the mechanical, with another fan dredging up sparks of notes and high percussion from a banjo set on Lauzier's table while the duo pressed themselves into the effervescence to bask in the light and heat.