Les Granules (derome / Lussier)

Les Granules (or the Kernels) was Rene Lussier’s duo project and Jean Derome’s saxophonist/flutist, who were active in the early ’80s through the late ’90s. Many consider the unit to embody the early Ambiances Magnetiques music aesthetic. It was a key part of the popular concept of musique actuelle. The unit is creative, resourceful and funny, drawing from many sources including jazz, rock, contemporary music and Quebec folk. Lussier met Derome in the late 1970s. They began working together on film soundtracks in 1978. They had created a duo concert called Ambiances Magnetiques by 1982. This title was later used to refer to the artist collective they founded and the record label they started a year later. Already the performance featured voices, acoustic, and electric instruments, as well as tape collages and a variety of small objects. The relationship between the musicians grew over the years and humor played a major role in the project. Their concerts were entertaining and enjoyable thanks to Derome’s playful wordplay and constant shifting between bird calls and saxophones, as well as Lussier’s foot tapping, angular guitar lines and frenetic strumming. They also used a two-man band approach which gave them a lot of enjoyment and albums that you can sink your teeth into. A first LP, Soyez Vigilants… Restez Vivants! Vol. Vol. It was Derome/Lussier’s most serious material. It made extensive use, particularly overdubbing, of studio techniques like its sequel, Le Retour des Granules (1987). This second LP received very positive reviews and was a cult underground hit in “Nombril/Fusil”, and “Si Tu T’Ennuies du Temps.” Ambiances magnetiques’ best-selling album was for a time. Both musicians began to pursue solo projects and joined Fred Frith’s Keep the Dog group. Although performances were sparse, a new album was being made by the duo in 1990. Au Royaume du Silencieux was finally completed in 1992 and released. Instead of recording multi-track pieces, then trying to perform them live with two musicians, Au Royaume du Silencieux performed the pieces in real-time. They also recorded several takes and edited the best parts. Their most successful record was achieved, in both silliness as well as serious musicianship (a good comparison to Eugene Chadbourne’s approach). Les Granules performed for a time again, but the musicians were busy with other projects. Derome and Lussier were dissatisfied by their musical partnership by 1998. They split after one final performance at the Lussier retrospective concert series. Allmusic

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