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Arts, City, Music

Sortie de sentier: a very improbable evening

Posted by Gabby / September 14, 2009

mp_nationalparcs.jpgLes Escales Improbables is, as far as I am concerned, the most underrated and interesting festival I have attended this summer. Sortie de sentier, the only paying showcase of the festival, offered a staggering mix of dance, video projections and diverse musical experiences for a truly improbable evening altogether.

Last night, I trekked all the way to Hangar 16, a gloomy warehouse bathed in yellow light where a stage and a performance space had been installed. Fashionably late, I walked in on a drummer getting beat up by a female dancer. As it turns out, it was the Ekumen collective, a group of artists working mainly in the area of sound creation.

mp_porteagauche.jpgAlso showcased were dance-events creators La 2e porte à gauche, during which two choreographers directed a troupe of people from the crowd into simple, well-organized movements. The result was quite amazing, and so inspiring that random people came up to dance during the remainder of the evening.

Forestare, a group of twelve classical guitarist, a double bass and a musical director playing in front of a screen where helicopter-views of Montreal and the Laurentians were projected. The effect of twelve acoustic guitars playing together was striking, and matching that with some great visuals was an amazing idea.

mp_logriyo.jpgSecond-to-last came Lo Griyo, a group from Reunion island. Those two little guys on the stage didn't look like much, but with their clever (and well-dosed) use of a loop pedal and multi-tasking, the outcome was a soothing mix of bass-clarinet, drums, and an exotic instrument that looked like a harp mounted on a calabash, with outer-worldly vocals.

Of course, the cherry on top of that awesome artsy sundae was definitely the National Parks, presenting their debut CD-DVD Timbervision. The idea for this CD was to set up shop right into a natural reserve, to make sounds with whatever was on hand, whether it was wood on wood or rock on rock, and to turn it into genre-bending songs and video at the same time. The result is a dizzying multimedia experience that combines amazing video direction and incredibly innovative music creation.

Needless to say, a night at Les Escales Improbables was a night full of discoveries. It feels so good to stay off the beaten path for a few hours and find out that there is so much more to cultural events in Montreal than Coldplay and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Photos from top: National Parcs, La 2e porte à gauche, Lo Griyo. Credits: Chloé Laetitia Thomas.

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