david kristian -
kristian, shalabi, st-onge CD
Kristian Shalabi St-Onge
performed at the 2001
International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville.
The Trio was also voted #4 by
Orderly Chaos, in Exclaim!'s 2001 year end issue.
Here's an excerpt of a review of Kristian,
Shalabi St-Onge's record launch performance, which appeared in the fall 2001 issue of La Voce Del Popolo:
"Watching this trio of improvisers, was perhaps
the highlight of this meeting... David Kristian was undoubtedly the most
theatrical, lurching over his electronic boxes with wires, mysterious blue
goo, and with a maniacal grin. St-Onge sitting cross legged beside his
bass, passionately grinding away at the strings on the bridge, plucking
away at everything including the pickup. All the while, Sam Shalabi
methodically stroked and tapped at his two stringed intruments."
- Crys Cole (Voce Del Popolo)
"The pieces on this album are very delicate, sometimes merely comprised of a dissonant pluck of a string or the hum of an acoustic bass, which materialises from an existential vacuum of
silence... An excellent recording."
- I. Khider
You might imagine that if you combined the twisted electronics of David
Kristian, the virtuoso playing of Sam Shalabi and demented avant fuckery
of Alexandre St-Onge, the result would be an insane soup of aural
mayhem. The first commercially available release of this Montreal-based
improv supergroup is actually quite the opposite. Taking the low-end
route, the album's first tracks feature nearly subsonic rumblings from
Kristian while Shalabi and St-Onge — on oud and upright bass,
respectively — are almost having a contest to see who can out-quiet each
other while still tactfully coloring the music. Continuing on, the
electronics seem to shift into a more vibrant mode, taking center
attention as opposed to underscore, with a repetitious crescendo, almost
like waves crashing while the stringed players do their best to keep up.
This stops for a bit while the electronics take the wheel completely,
but it soon returns to a clearly observable interactive trio, as the
stringed instruments are bowed and plucked while the electronics return
to a grumbling sub-bass hum. Fans of improv and Shalabi Effect, Kristian
or St-Onge's stuff will most likely have this record already but those
new to the scene wouldn't suffer having this in their collection. -
On attendait avec
impatience la réunion de ces trois grosses pointures de l'avant-garde
montréalaise. Le réputé électronicien David Kristian montre les aspects
plus atmosphériques de son travail, dans la lignée de Tacoma Narrows
Bridge et, surtout, de Room Tone. Mais il sert ici d'appui à deux
musiciens acoustiques, dont l'omniprésent Sam Shalabi, qui pince les
cordes de son oud comme s'il s'agissait d'un koto japonais, et Alexandre
Saint-Onge, qui, bien que de plus en plus habitué aux explorations
électroniques, retrouve avec bonheur sa contrebasse dont il tire de
lents grincements qui évoquent les moments plus calmes de son groupe
Klaxon Gueule. Moins immédiat et mélodique que le disque de Shalabi
Effect, mais tout aussi planant, ce premier disque du trio vous entraîne
dans des contrées à l'air raréfié.
- Nicolas Tittley (Voir)
"While this record
is improvised, the mood of each piece is so integrated and clearly
defined it feels more like studied composition. St-Onge's upright bass
provides the anchor with unsettling drones, scuffs and plucks. Kristian
fills in dark colors on an analog synth, sometimes with gurgling
modulation, and other times with quaking bass tones. Shalabi, meanwhile,
provides much of the texture, picking and scraping his way on guitar and
oud. It's an odd combination on paper, but the three work together as a
single six-armed beast intent on conjuring black, brooding atmosphere."
- Mark Richard-San
Kristian Shalabi St-Onge was voted #4 in the Top
5 Orderly Chaos records in Exclaim!'s 2001 year end issue.