19 RJ LeblandHeyday
RJ LeBlanc
MCM; Bent River Records; Diese Onze Records (rjleblanc.bandcamp.com)

The embodiment of smoothness, Heyday has the fluidity of a living organism, with nary a transition feeling contrived and a staggering level of sonic detail. Into The Sun is a composition that takes calculated risks while never coming across as arrogant. Each metre and tempo change is seamless, without clear delineations necessary in terms of solo sections versus premeditated grooves. In the track’s third and fourth minutes, the synth ostinato slows to a halt, but the momentum of the music isn’t compromised, as it either punctuates a backdrop of thunderous percussion or brings the song to a close. 

Montreal bassist RJ LeBlanc as a session leader is dazzlingly adept at precisely that: taking one simple musical element and finding a thousand different uses for it. In a less overt way, the way LeBlanc incorporates harmonics on his bass in the mesmerizing emotional core track Chanson pour Marguerite is quite fascinating. Extended passages employing harmonics are used in the beginning as a means of introducing the primary melodic figure, used as an interlude connecting sections, and then underneath the guitar (Nicolas Ferron) to create a climatically uplifting ambient soundscape. Meanwhile, this album perhaps shines brightest when LeBlanc brings along the entire ensemble, with Saturnales in particular being a dizzyingly dense achievement of married sound. The track, like the album itself, is an exploration of ingenuity and how invigorating it can be to have friends to realize your ideas.

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