Flore Laurentienne delivers her interpretation of Riopelle’s universe on her album “8 Tableaux”

Flore Laurentienne adds another layer to her musical work around the work of the painter Jean Paul Riopelle. In addition to having created the music for a Canadian radio podcast on the master of the brush and trowel, the musician held a five-day residency at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in November, surrounded by was of paintings by Riopelle. These experiments will be at the center of the two concerts he will give on March 23 and 24 at Bourgie Hall. And on Friday the main musical framework of this adventure will finally appear, the disc 8 paintings, inspired by paintings and the world of the painter. Meeting with the musician Mathieu David Gagnon.

8 paintings is a third instrumental disc for you, but we cannot say that it is quite in the same line as Volume 1 And Volume 2. The concept of the pieces takes a bit of the ground from tunes and melodies, right?

Yes, because I don’t see them as pieces, I see them as musical paintings. I would say it’s a record that may seem complicated, but it comes back to things that are exceedingly simple. It’s just that my way of presenting is not usual in form and duration, compared to more conventional music, let’s say.

In which way ? What is your approach to transposing Riopelle into sounds?

These are pieces which have no beginning, which have no end, but which give that impression that the painting gives off. We are not in the “verse-chorus”, but more in a freeze frame. That was a bit like the concept: to remove the form and make room for timbres, textures and a lot of randomness. Because, well, we know very well that Riopelle made his reputation as an automatist painter. Very, very quickly, he abandoned this trend, but the fact remains that his work is tinged with scribbles, chaos, randomness, but which is very organic. I call it chaos filtered by emotion, that is to say you can do random things, but they will never really be random because they will be guided by a sensitivity.

You just released a kind of music video for the play Goose Island, which takes the form of overlapping waves. Does this illustrate your composition process well?

What you need to know is that all of Jean Paul Riopelle’s work is essentially based on the superposition of layers. If I take the piece The blue night for example, this one is going to be very descriptive. [Sur la toile], we can see the background and the other layers very well: blue, red, yellow. And so the way I went about it [pour représenter ça], is that I used a series of very simple notes — it’s not the notes that are important, it’s really the movement. I used a synthesizer called the Synthi, the one that Pink Floyd used on Dark Side of the Moon, For the little story. And with this instrument, you can define random attacks of notes, so that their rhythm is never the same. By superimposing it on itself, it creates a kind of kaleidoscope of colors which arrive at us and which start from the left, which go towards the right. In the end, it’s really very relaxed and can make you think of the stars or the quiet night.

In the booklet of 8 paintings, you provide us with parts of the scores to better decode the approach, the concept adopted for each piece. But why can’t we see Riopelle’s paintings themselves?

They will be found in images on the YouTube videos of the pieces, but I wanted the album to be an art object that can be consumed without the paintings and that it is not anchored in a perspective of 100e Riopelle’s birthday. I didn’t want to take advantage of that, that really wasn’t my intention. And that’s also why it’s not a painting by Riopelle on the cover, it’s snow which was taken in a photo by my girlfriend in the courtyard in Kamouraska! It represents the white canvas, but drawn by nature, which greatly influenced Riopelle. And me too.

Your career has been growing since your debut on record in 2019. Could the fact of creating a conceptual record of the genre, between ambient and experimental music, slow down your progress a little?

Success has had no influence, I feel, on the music I create. There has never been a compromise that has been possible, neither with my label nor with my team. And we don’t have to sell millions of albums. Me, I’m very happy with what I do, and really it’s priceless to be able to create and be free.

You have a new record label, Secret City. What more does it give you?

You have to play internationally if you want a project like this to stay alive, and the more people there are working on the project, the further it goes. The public, for example, for albums like 8 paintingsI know very well that it is not really in Quebec, it is music that is more popular in Germany, England, the Netherlands. [Avec une équipe], your throw does not fall in your yard. It bounces in your yard, but then it goes further!

8 paintings

Laurentian Flora, Secret City. Launch on 1er March. In performance on March 23 and 24 at Bourgie Hall.

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