Track Premiere: Simon Provencher, “Et Quart”

On “Et Quart,” clarinets flutter in conversation above frenetic, buzzing feedback; their placidity floats with ease above the acidic background. The piece is a juxtaposition of contrasts: It establishes an almost-perfect serenity that’s underscored by a biting urgency that lingers throughout every twinkling moment. In just two minutes, we hear powerful clarinet melodies, ringing like bold horn calls, collide into each other and bloom into a multitude of intricately layered lines that eventually fade away in newfound unity and tranquility. 

“Et Quart” is the fifth track on Hull, Quebec multi-instrumentalist and composer Simon Provencher’s forthcoming EP, Mesures, out on March 26 on Michel Records. The song is recorded with clarinetist Elyze Venne-Deshaies. And while Provencher has always had his hands in an eclectic set of projects, this EP feels like a new direction. He’s come to prominence for his thrashing guitar playing in punk groups like VICTIME, but here, he channels that energetic pulse into six miniature tracks that exude a subtler sense of freedom, a potential energy that’s just waiting to burst. 

Provencher says of “Et Quart”:

“In ‘Et quart,’ the feedback is relentless, sour, and displeasing; a stark contrast with the fleeting and soft clarinets. There is a clear opposition between the rigorous, mathematical, precise feedback and the breathy, living woodwinds. But, as Elyze’s melodies take more and more space, the initially conflicting sounds seem to harmonize and merge, culminating in a sublime unison rise at the song’s climax. The unstable sounds can’t maintain this delicate equilibrium for long, though.”

Mesures is out on March 26 on Michel Records. It’s available for Pre-Order on Bandcamp.