Sound Impression: 88 by Cédric D. Lavoie [Preserved Sound]


Based in the market town of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, Preserved Sound has always been a friendly label to artists who create unique intersections of modern classical, jazz, and experimental ambient music, often featuring unconventional approaches to instrumentation.  Some of the more noteworthy recent examples include Tess Said So, Covarino/Incorvaia, Adrian Lane, and Trigg & Gusset. This month the label will add a new name to the catalog that fans of the aforementioned should very much appreciate – Canadian composer and founder of the Mismar ensemble Cédric Dind-Lavoie. His forthcoming solo album on entitled 88 originated on the piano and was then fleshed out with bowed & plucked upright bass as well as a keen focus on the use of discrete percussion and sound effects.

Everything started on the piano. I also explored recording techniques emphasizing the sound resulting from the mechanics of the piano and my fingers on the keyboard. These sounds are rarely acoustically audible, but add an intimate and intriguing aspect to the recording… ​I also thought about hiring string players to play on some of the tracks but eventually decided to take on the challenge of playing everything on the upright bass, to achieve a darker and perhaps more unusual string section.

Cédric D. Lavoie 

Lavoie has created a wonderfully understated record that is surprisingly immersive given the sparse, minimalistic approach. He achieves this through immaculate attention to textural detail which captures the movement of each dampened hammer, every drop of rain, and, seemingly, even the most subtle movements of air. These textural elements juxtaposed with graceful, elegant piano lines and low bass frequencies create all sorts of mesmerizing counterpoints. The sound is exceptionally refined, but not delicate; pensive, but not doleful. It takes a few spins to attune the ear to everything going on, but once that happens you will likely find your appreciation grows with each listen to this outstanding debut.

Links:  Bandcamp (CD/DL)  |  Cédric D. Lavoie  | Preserved Sound

88 will be available November 23 in a limited handmade CD edition (150 copies) as well as digital/streaming.