CD released by Alluvial Recordings in 2005
THE WIRE 261 November 2005 | (Jim Haynes)
The Montreal based composer Joda Clément works in a mode familiar to contemporary ambient, minimalist,and drone based artists, as he seeks to bridge natural and synthetic sounds through an atomodpheric wash of blurred details. Within his debut album Movement + Rest, Clément buries field recordings of broken radiators, trains passing in the night and snow falling within a murky grey soundfield built from reverb and the sustained vibrations from a couple of synthesizers. While reverb is often employeed to give the illusion of space within a recording, Clément effectively flattens each and every one of his sounds into a monochromatic smear. Ghostly fragments of a melody, a rainstorm, or a vocal chorale occasionally emerge only to drift back once more into the shadows. While artists such as Jonathan Coleclough and Thomas Koner have succeeded in their mediated marriage of natural and synthetic sounds, Movement + Rest is a tentative first step that with time might develop into something transcendent.
PARIS TRANSATLANTIC January 2006 | (Dan Warburton)
“All songs by Joda Clément” it says, and that word “songs” is a clue. Strictly speaking none of the six tracks on this album, which were principally sourced in field recordings made in Toronto, Montréal, Paris, Guadalajara and Kabul (this latter a public domain recording), is a song (as in “a brief composition written or adapted for singing”), even if four of them feature additional voice courtesy of Natasha Grace. The second dictionary definition of “song” however does apply “ “a distinctive or characteristic sound made by an animal, such as a bird or an insect”“ provided one redefines “animal” as “man in his environment.” “My recordings attempt to blur the distinction between electronic, acoustic and ambient sources,” writes Clément, whose list of instruments used includes harmonium, bells and a whole battery of synthesizers and effects units. “Analog or acoustic instruments are used because of the direct physical process with which they generate sound. I take field recordings from sounds that habitually go unnoticed in the daily environment (airplanes overhead, trains passing in the night, the broken radiator at the end of the hall, falling snow), as well as those which are less accessible for hearing (the abandoned subway tunnels of Toronto, a muffled cab ride through Guadalajara, contact mics on Jacques Cartier Bridge, etc.). I combine nondescript omnipresent noises that surround us with instrumental and vocal recordings to create a landscape of sounds that unites the properties of both musical and everyday contexts.” Those words “blur”, “muffled” and “nondescript” are also significant here “ Clément’s work has more in common with the more meditative / introspective work of Andrew Chalk and Keith Berry than it does with that of Eric La Casa or Michael Résenberg. It’s beautiful and evocative, if a little heavy on the reverb (but I’m not complaining), and I look forward to hearing more of it to come.
TOUCHING EXTREMES | (Massimo Ricci)
Can you say “high class in treatment of sorrow”? That’s what came to my mind while listening to the gloomy atmospheres of Joda Clément’s music, which is often comparable to greyish funerals for the light-hearted, slightly dipped in pre-Lustmord sauce. Nevertheless, your approach with this composer should avoid any lateral esoteric thought, since Joda does not indulge in easy emotional tricks; his field recordings are treated and mixed in a rarefaction of drones – multieffect processing and various synths are used extensively – that reveal slow movements of disillusion in the agony of a futureless serenity. Furthermore, Clément works masterfully with time stretching, giving a sense of stasis even to the few moving blocks of his desolated quarters; over there, textural mud evolves into fascinating low-frequency densities, rarely enhanced – better, distracted – by some subtle pulsating sequence or a couple of lamenting synthesizer notes. Keep your eyes open.
LE SOLIEL (newspaper), January 14, 2006 | (David Cantin)
In the shadow of the ever popular indie-rock scene, Quebec’s experimental music is sparking up as of late. There’s surely a lot of aventurous sounds to hear from people like Blake Hargreaves, Jacob Chelkowski, Alain Lefebvre or the well-known Alexandre St-Onge. In this experimental field, it’s relevant to point out the wonderful Movement + Rest by newcomer Joda Clément. With the carefull and inventive use of different sound sources, this young composer opens up to a field of possibility rather than a fixed agenda. Often minimal and quiet, these short pieces bring to mind a fragmented chaos. Never boring or too studied, Clément produces assorted and seemingly unrelated brittle, swirling electronic textures. From the human voices on Sacré-Cœur to the abstract melodies of Song of Threes, you have to look forward into this highly noticeable listen. Music in constant progress. HHH1/2 (Translation from the French by Cantin)