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  • Bernhari Adds a Touch of Distortion to the L’Astral Stage

    Musicians who overuse the distortion effect to create a loudness in their music are usually the ones who want to make sure that their melody travels and stays in the hearts of their audiences. Montreal-based musician Bernhari manages to pull this off.

    This past Saturday, Bernahri performed at the L’Astral concert hall for Les FrancoFolies de Montréal festival. For this performance, he and his backup musicians turned up the volume on their instruments, transmitting waves of electric melodies to their audience.

    Opening for Bernhari was a group named Fishbach. For the first time in North America, this France-based band fuses different musical genres such as rock and pop to purposely re-create a 1980’s sound.

    Drum pads and a bass with a clean electric guitar tone were fused together to create a continuous thumping beat, giving the sound a small dose of rock. At the same time, the use of synthesizers provided fuzzy tones.

    Fishbach began with a song called “Tu vas vibrer” that began with a mysterious echoing sound on the synthesizers followed by the humming noises from the background vocalists.

    The electronic drum pad slowly worked its way in to create a slow-paced rhythmic pattern. Once the tempo reached its climax, the electric bass created a continuous thumping sound that changed the melody into a funky beat.

    The song ended with the clean tone from a Fender Stratocaster, strumming a fast and loud repetitive chord progression.

    Another piece that this opening band performed was “Night Bird (Petit Monstre).” The loud sound of the electric bass was the heart of this track; it constructed the foundational beat that other instruments followed to complete the melody.

    The song began with the echoing sound of feedback from the electric guitar, followed by a heavy repetitive beat from the bass drum on the drum pad and the thumping sound from the electric bass.

    The tempo of the song changes to a fast-paced melody, ending with the echo-y feedback effect from the electric guitar that was heard at the beginning of the song.

    After Fishbach’s performance, Bernhari and his accompanying musicians emerged onto the stage. The group began their set with the song called “Bouquet final”, which started off with the synthesizers creating looping effect out of several musical notes. The synths were quickly joined by the joyful sound of the piano keys.

    The beat began all at once with a repetitive distortion melody on the electric guitar, followed by the loud picking of the bass, the depth sound from the acoustic drum set and Bernhari’s soft mellow voice.

    As all the instruments slowly quieted down towards the end of the song, the tempo changed and turned into a funky fast-paced beat, repeatedly hitting the snares and the cymbals.

    Another song that Bernhari played was “Aime moi.” This song incorporated several transitions, which made it interesting to follow the melody since each rhythmical pattern was different. The transitions opened the audience’s musical horizons allowing them to discover all the impossible rhythms that can be worked into one single song.

    The piece began with Bernhari’s soft voice as he played a gentle melodic key on the synthesizers. This was accompanied by a stomping drum beat that paired easily with the bass, followed by the electric guitar repeatedly strumming a muted chord.

    The rhythm changes to a fast-paced beat, wherein the drummer continuously hit the snare, cymbals and hi-hat cymbal as fast as possible.

    The electric guitar takes on a heavy solo with the distortion effect giving the audience a chance to rock out, followed by a fast-paced thumping noise from the bass to end the melody with a touch of rock.

    The band concluded their set by replaying their song, “Bouquet final.” Each of the parts remained the same until the end when the band decided to take a different approach by uplifting the melody to a funky and rock-like drum beat that transformed into a free for all instrumental jam.

    The heavy distortion on the electric guitar solo allowed the audience to absorb the hard rock melodies. The electric bass was picked as fast as possible and the fuzziness tone offered from the synthesizers and the loudness from the drums invited the other instruments to raise their volumes.

    The loudness coming from each instrument intensified the track to the point where you’d think that one of the musicians may have busted their volume components.

    The dynamical energy from each of the band members created a loud melody that would stay in the hearts of the audience for a long time.

    Bernhari put on an energetic and electrifying performance and the loudness that came from each of their instruments amazed the audience. The dynamic energy from each of the band members created a loud melody that will stay in the audience’s hearts for a long time.

    Bernhari // Fishbach // Les FrancoFolies de Montréal //

  • Richard Séguin Uplifts the Crowds at Les FrancoFolies De Montréal

    A musician, singer and songwriter whose imaginative lyrical messages are rooted with meaning about the human life. Accompanied by the outset melodic patterns drawn from folk, blues and rock music, Richard Séguin is that musician.

    The fourth indoor show for Les FrancoFolies de Montréal festival was with Séguin this past Friday at the Cinquième Salle in the Place des Arts concert venue. For this performance, he took some new spins on some tunes from his most recent album Les Horizons Nouveaux, but revisited some of his acclaimed classics.

    The first part of the show began with the song called “Les vents contraires.” Séguin began the set strong, using his powerful vocals as he picked away at his acoustic guitar. The volume pitch in Séguin’s voice enabled him to deliver strong emotion behind every one of his lyrics.

    The melody maintained a consistent tone with a stomping drum bass that was created using the drum pad, the light sound of the piano being played on the keyboard and two acoustic guitars strumming a repetitive chord progression. All of these sounds worked together to build the song’s melody.

    One of the more emotionally driven songs that Séguin performed was “Sous les cheminées,” not because of its beautiful sound, but for its nostalgic message that described springtime in the east-end of Montreal during the 1960s. The sounds of kids laughing and playing in the streets, some fathers getting ready to work the night shift, and others who were just returning from their day shifts.

    The repetitive tune began with Séguin singing with a soft voice while picking a simple chord progression. The sound of the cello made its way into the melody followed by an acoustic guitar and a mandolin made of aged wood that gave a nostalgic touch to the melody.

    The first half of the set ended with Séguin’s tune “L’ange vagabond.” Coming out of the harmonica were the sounds of blues and folk music being mixed together, followed by Séguin’s rough strumming of an acoustic guitar.

    The backup guitarist picked a musical pattern on his own acoustic guitar with a clean tone that sounded like an electric guitar, followed by the drawn out sounds of a cello and the electronic drum pad creating a stomping melody.

    The second half of the show began with a tune called “Le manteau” which recounted an old tale of a worn out jacket that had gone through different situations such as break-ups, first crushes and building solid friendships.

    The ballad began with the harmonica accompanied by two acoustic guitars strumming a repetitive chord and the thumping sound from the electronic bass drum pad.

    The tune developed an engaging mood wherein the audience clapped along and ended with Séguin’s blues-y harmonica solo followed by his background musicians.

    The show came to an end with “Rester debout,” one of Séguin’s classic hits. The melody kicked off with the constant strum of the guitar followed by background vocals repeating “rester, rester debout.”

    This lyrical repetition developed a powerful meaning that one must stand up for themselves and be strong at all times, with the electric guitar strumming in the background and the melodic piano effect on the synthesizer to help deliver this strong message.

    At the peak of the song, Séguin’s acoustic guitar was strummed hard, while he engaged with the audience to sing the verse, ending things with an acoustic jam.

    Overall, Richard Séguin proved to the audience that he will always be one of the most acclaimed musicians, singer and songwriter in Quebec for his engaging, meaningful ballads and melodic tunes.

    Richard Seguin // Les FrancoFolies de Montréal //

  • Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains Perform in Les FrancoFolies de Montréal Festival

    A child’s dream is to travel utopic galaxies, but as they grow old, they realize how the selected ones are able to visit the moon. Luckily, indie-folk band Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains were able to achieve that goal through their music.

    The first indoor show at Les FrancoFolies de Montréal began with Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains this past Wednesday at the Club Soda concert hall. The five young musicians invited the audience to climb aboard their shuttle and travel through the mysterious sounds of space rock.

    Opening for the band was a group named Barbagallo. Discovered by Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, the band fed the audience a combination of different sounds that created a spatial effect using two mixing boards attached to a synthesizer. Each note that was held down created a different sound that teleported the melody into a different world; they used sounds such as lasers and an abduction sound that you’d imagine hearing from a flying saucer.

    They began with a song called “Nouveau Sidobre” that began with the sound of an acoustic guitar being strummed, followed by a progressively accelerating paced drum beat and the synthesizer keys held down from one musical note to the other.

    The slow paced pattern transformed into a funky beat, until eventually the song winded down to slow melody.

    Barbagallo ended their set list with their song “La Vérité.” The song began with the synthesizer’s looping effect which created a rhythmical pattern that slowly faded away. The drummer of the band Julien Barbagallo—whom the band is named after—began singing alongside a slightly shuffled drum beat.

    The part that I loved was the lightly tapped bass drum. As the song progressed, the drum kept getting louder, until the sound exploded into a huge jam. The drum was the song’s heart since each beat created a rhythmic pattern that allowed other instruments to engage in the melody.

    After Barbagallo’s performance ended, Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains emerged onto the stage. The group began their set with a song called “Grand Dérèglement” which started off with several random radio voices.

    The beat began with a rough drum beat quickly followed by the sound of a distortion effect coming from an electric guitar, adding an electric feeling to the piece.

    The backup guitarist switched over to the synthesizers, creating different echoing and looping sounds until the electric guitar took over with an energetic solo until the end of the song.

    The song “Be Water (Je Suis de L’Eau),” captured the band’s essence, fusing different sounds and rhythmical patterns. The echoing sound gave the audience an all-access pass to travel into a different dimension dedicated to music.

    The piece began with an echoing electric guitar chord, while the unknown sounds were interpreted on the electric drum pad.

    The snare and cymbals were lightly introduced, accompanied by the electric guitar’s clean tone. The song ended with a huge jam, where every instrument was heard without overlapping each other.

    After several cheers and whistles, the band came back for an encore. The improvisational piece began with the synthesizers looping with an echoing effect.

    The song’s rhythmical pattern changed to an electronic and funky beat, which explodes to a loose jam session, applying their effects to each instrument they played that created a different world of music. The song quietly winds down until no instrument can be heard.

    Overall, the Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains performance was quite enjoyable. The sounds and noise level that the band created amazed the audience into wanting more.

    Les FrancoFolies de Montréal // // June 8th-18th //

  • A Review of the Outdoor Concerts at Les FrancoFolies de Montréal

    Imagine six different worlds dedicated to their own genre of music. Les FrancoFolies de Montréal were able to make that imagination a reality.

    Les FrancoFolies de Montréal mounted six free outdoor stages, each one boasting their own respective artists who performed their own unique sounds.

    Lasting for 12 days and held inside the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, this festival gathers an audience and allows them to expand their musical horizons by letting the music take them to a different world.

    This past Friday, Les Louanges at the Coors Light Zone kicked off the festival. It would have been good if Les Louanges had revealed the titles for their tracks instead of referring to them as “unreleased pieces.” Regardless, each of the tracks surprised the audience with their combined sounds.

    The piece that I enjoyed the most was an improvisational one, wherein the band fused electro music with a hint of funk. The song began with a distorted guitar solo, followed by a funky bass beat being thumped away.

    The synthesizers made an appearance at the end of the set, offering a whammy distortion solo that paired along with a telecaster being played. Both solos used the same effects, but from two different instruments.

    I enjoyed this piece not because of how band decided to use effect pedals and sound mixers, but because it gave an example of how musical boundaries should be broken.

    The guitar solo, which was played on a classic Fender Telecaster, had a clean sound with a touch of distortion that gave a lighter touch to accompany the heaviness of the muted bass along with the drum’s bass pedal.

    Le Bal Pop Loto-Québec site re-created the parisian ambience, with cafe chairs and tables scattered across the Place des Arts Esplanade. The Petit Orchestre Parisien performed some classic French covers by artists such as Les Rita Mitsouko, Julien Clerc and Edith Piaf.

    Even though their set was over, a guitarist and an accordion player roamed around the Esplanade to continuously offer the classic French ambience.

    Quebec and Algerian artist Zaho offered a great electronic presentation to her fans at the Bell Stage.

    I would have loved if the drum set’s bass pedal hadn’t been overused since it tends to become overpowered if it gets combined with the bass effect on the synthesizers. This makes it difficult to follow the melody of a song.

    Regardless, Zaho blends different musical rhythms into her repertoire, offering her fans a taste for musical beats. The combination of the bass drum, the thumping noise of a muted bass guitar, the constant strumming of an acoustic guitar and Zaho’s loud vocals created a powerful sound that filled up the space.

    Meanwhile, The Sirius XM stage showcased the fine music of rhythm and blues with a little hint of rap by artists DI Astronauts.

    Two DJs stood behind their laptops, creating different rhythmical patterns using their attachments to amplify the music with mixers and sound boards. At the same time, three singers sang their hearts out, leaving the audience wanting a taste for more.

    Singer and musician Valérie Carpentier fused two different genres of soft rock and pop, creating some easy to follow melodies on the Ford Stage.

    The piece I enjoyed most was “Young and Lonely.” It began with a slight shuffling drum pattern and a repetitive guitar chord progression which paved the way for Carpentier’s soft voice.

    The sound of the violin as part of the background music made a surprising appearance and perfectly blended with the sound of the instruments, including the delicate touch of a piano melody.

    The piece ended with all the instruments incorporated, allowing the audience to follow the mellow ballad without being interrupted by any instruments overlapping one another.

    I will remember this slow ballad simply for Carpentier’s vocals. Her mellow voice shone above the instruments with clear articulation.

    Her voice allowed the audience to understand her message, about how one is never lonely, but is in the company of others without realizing it.

    The night ended with singer Jacques Jacobus who rapped his heart out to the city of Montreal on the Urban Stage.

    His vocals were backed by a DJ who added the sound of a drum snare and two small cymbals as part of the musical attachments to his mixing boards. At the same time, the guitarist looped and echoed repetitive chord progressions that blended perfectly with the funky beat. What a great way to explore different harmonies, while continuously following the melody of each song.

    Les FrancoFolies de Montréal // June 8th-18th

  • A Review of ArelKing’s Album Montage

    Letting a musician’s emotions paint the path for the rhythm of the track, or combining several genres of music into each—these are fundamental ways of exploring beyond musical boundaries. On their latest album, this is just what indie band ArelKing does.

    ArelKing’s new album, Montage, provides rhythmic tones that stand out from other musicians. This album features the band’s technique of combining different harmonies to go along with the electrifying chord changes and progressions, including vibrant drum patterns. Each of these techniques used allows the listeners to absorb each note of the melody as if they were present in the recording studio.

    “Radiohead was a big influence, including Beck where he mixes every musical genre, which is what we want to do.” said Francis Duruisseau, singer, keyboardist and guitarist for ArelKing.

    Other band members include Raphaël Thibodeau on guitar, keyboards and bass, Mathieu Beaudet on bass, synthesizers and guitars and Sophane Beaudin-Quintin playing drums and percussions.

    One of the band’s main goals is to fuse different musical genres such as progressive/alternative rock with a hint of jazz fusion to create a different world of music altogether. Mixing genres of music leaves listeners and future musicians thinking of the possibility of combining any beat, sound and melody.

    Each sound created allows the group to explore their interest in every type of music. The band doesn’t seek interest in how the song should end, but instead focus on the type of melody used throughout each individual track.

    “When we play, we have no idea how the song will end, but all we know is that we follow our emotions for creating our melodies.” explained Duruisseau.

    Giving a first listen to Montage, it was impressive how the distortion effect didn’t overpower the other instruments being used throughout the album.

    The track “Wait, Now” is an impeccable example of this technique, wherein the sound of a repetitive chord progression contains a hint of distortion. At the same time, the melody of the song stays integrated with the synthesizers mimicking the chord progression. The harmony of the background vocals are used to resemble the song “Because” by The Beatles and a slow shuffling drum beat that guides the melody in the right direction.

    Before officially joining ArelKing, Beaudet was at Duruisseau’s house where he was idly picking away at his guitar with the same repetitive chord pattern. As he was picking, Duruisseau had the idea to play along the melody by using the rhodes effect on his keyboard. Five minutes later, the sixth track of Montage “Somebody in the Attic” was created.

    “The song talks about having a mythical figure inside your head who is controlling and telling you what to do,” said Duruisseau.

    The track begins as a muted clean repetitive electric guitar chord progression with a hint of distortion, accompanied by a funky bass chord, an easy-to follow shuffling drum beat and the soft sound of synthesizers that have a quiet yet impactful presence.

    Once the beat settles in, the vocals make a normal appearance, providing a standard tone of voice. In the middle of the track, the voice gets rougher from the rhythmic pattern change, providing a faster, but still shuffling, funky beat.

    At the end of the piece, the beat goes back to the beginning of the track, but the repetitive chord progression is replaced by an energized guitar solo, perfectly adjusted with the tempo of the track, ending the song on several good notes.

    After listening to the album in its entirety, the only criticism that comes to mind is the low presence of warmer guitar tones into some songs. The clean tones that are used are great for adding a brighter sound to the guitar, but if the band chose instead to integrate more warmer tones, then the sound of the bass would have elevated, adding more depth in each track. The beginning of the track “Palisade” could have used this, which would have added more warmth to the song as a whole.

    Overall, Montage is a good choice if you’re sitting back with a good pair of headphones, reading a great book and in the mood to relax to various sounds of music.

    ArelKing // Montage //