One thing that makes Tambour’s music distinctive is that, unlike some other artists in the modern classical/post-classical milieu, his use of electronic synthesis and musical styles such as rock is very subtle, probably undetectable to many. But mostly, it’s simply that he’s a seriously talented in all three of the areas that seem to count in this genre: composing, arranging and studio craft.

artist:
Tambour

country of origin:
Canada

style(s):
modern classical, post-classical, neoclassical. chamber music

decades active:
2010's

essential releases:

Chapitre 1 e.p. (2015, Moderna Records)
Chapitre 2 e.p. (2016, Moderna Records)


Reviewed by Mike G

This sublime modern classical chamber music of Tambour (Montreal-based composer Simon P. Castonguay) is blessed with harmonies of weeping beauty and is arranged with great sensitivity. He blends piano (played by himself) with violin, violas and cello, adding simple but significant electronic treatments like reverb and delay.

His four-track debut e.p. Chapitre 1 (2015) is deeply lyrical and intimate, and subtly modern with its elements of looping minimalism and touches of sound manipulation. Some “prepared piano” is also used to great effect, a John Cage innovation from the 1940’s where objects are stuck in and around the piano strings to change the timbre or soften the sounds. On the title track the opening piano notes sound like the slow plucking of a large steel-string guitar. On “Waves” you can hear the pads gently scraping the strings with every keystroke, lending the melody an air of dreamy, blurry reminiscence.

The follow-up Chapitre II (2016) offers another four pieces and is a worthy sequel in every way: accessible, melodic, intelligent and deep. “L’apostrophe” and “Sleepers” are combos of piano and strings that are soft edged, melancholic and blessed with gentle sense of awe. Meshed with the piano of “Farewell Museum” is a sad and lovely melody for French horns, created by guest Pietro Amato.

One thing that makes Tambour’s music distinctive is that, unlike some other artists in the modern classical/post-classical milieu, his use of electronic synthesis and musical styles such as rock is very subtle, probably undetectable to many. But mostly, it’s simply that he’s a seriously talented in all three of the areas that seem to count in this genre: composing, arranging and studio craft.

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