Artists Héliodrome


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English
Héliodrome saw the light in 2006, with the meeting of the Montreal rapper Frédérick Galbrun and multi-instrumentalist Pascal Langlais. Better known as Khyro, Frédérick Galbrun is a major figure in the underground French rap scene in Québec. He was the founding member of Traumaturges (Suce mon index, 2000) and of the Hip-Hop collective Atach Tatuq (La Guerre des Tuqs, 2003 and Deluxxx, 2006). Frédérick Galbrun built his reputation on being an introspective rapper, closer to poetry and spoken word than standard rap.

However, it’s the passion of free-jazz and experimental music that led to the creation of Héliodrome. In 2008, the duo released their first record La lumière ordinaire du jour on Canadian label Endemik Music. This record was mainly composed of obscure jazz samples and allowed for the group to define a peculiar identity, driven radically away from the French rap standards. Garnishing abundant reviews and praise, their first record was considered dark, immersive and oppressive. Incidentally, in terms of written raps, Héliodrome walks the thin line that separates it from spoken word poetry, pushing forward cryptic and deeply personal writings.

The years that followed this release, the band abandoned sampling and focused more on improvisation. Thus, on different projects, Héliodrome was accompanied by a diverse group of musicians depending on the settings; Will Eizlini, Mélanie Auclair, Alexandre St-Onge, Michel F. Côté, Bernard Falaise, Pierre Tanguay, Diane Labrosse… In 2010, Héliodrome released Swearing at the Sun, a collaboration with German musician Jayrope (Air Cushion Finish), as a result of an improvisation in the latter’s apartment in Berlin. In 2011, bassist Éric Gingras (Avec le Soleil Sortant de sa Bouche, Enfant Magique) joined the group to record a 7inch vinyl for the Swiss label Luana Messed Up Records. These two instrumental releases became the cornerstone of the group’s new identity, especially when music critic Byron Coley did a comparison in the Wire magazine, between Héliodrome’s music and the aesthetic of the Rock In Opposition European movement, an influence totally assumed by the band members.

In this respect, Héliodrome’s new album, Le Jardin des Espèces (March 2017) embrace this new aesthetic to create a genre that the band qualifies from now on as Rap In Opposition, mixing rock, rap, electronics and free-jazz. Originally as the duo of Frédérick Galbrun (rap, electronics) and Pascal Langlais (guitars, synths), along with Scott Da Ros (producer, editor), the band has expanded to add trombonist/saxophonist Pierre-Guilhem Roudet, drummer Samuel Bobony (Black Givre, Avec le Soleil Sortant de sa Bouche) and Éric Gingras on bass, allowing them to navigate as they wish on the troubled waters of a genre of music in constant mutation.

French
« Alt-Rap », « Post-Rap », « Rap Expérimental »…, depuis 2006 le groupe Héliodrome défie toute catégorisation. Histoire idiosyncratique d’une rencontre entre le rappeur Khyro et le multi-instrumentiste ypl, le récit s’est transformé et singularisé avec les années. Khyro s’est fait connaître à la fin des années 90 en tant que membre fondateur du groupe rap montréalais Traumaturges et du collectif Atach Tatuq, récipiendaire du Félix de meilleur album Hip-Hop au gala de l’ADISQ en 2006. Deux groupes qui ont marqué au fer rouge une scène Hip-Hop québécoise en quête d’identité. Dès ses débuts, le rap de Khyro s’est vu qualifié de poétique et introspectif, frôlant les limites du « spoken word » et du slam alors que ces genres n’avaient pas encore éclos.

C’est l’amour de ce rappeur pour le free-jazz (Peter Brotzmann, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra…) qui a initié la rencontre avec le multi-instrumentiste ypl. Alors à la barre du projet Rosemo(u)nt Anti-Quartet, ypl a offert la possibilité d’unir le rap et le free-jazz, à l’aide d’un sampler et d’une table tournante. En 2008, le duo a fait paraître un premier album intitulé « La lumière ordinaire du jour » sous le label canadien Endemik Music (Bleubird, Buriers, Soso, …). Cette association leur a permis de nouer des liens solides avec Scott Da Ros, beatmaker et patron du label, qui est devenu au fil des ans le membre invisible d’Héliodrome.

Composé d’échantillons de jazz obscurs, ce premier album a mis en relief l’amour de l’improvisation du duo, leur permettant de répondre plus adéquatement à leurs aspirations créatives. Délaissant ainsi les échantillons, Khyro et ypl se sont intéressés de plus en plus à l’instrumentation live. En incorporant divers instruments tels que la guitare slide, le banjo, le dulcimer appalachien, la clarinette et des gadgets électroniques, ils ont donné une nouvelle impulsion à leur projet.

« Le Jardin des Espèces » est une première sortie depuis 2011 et un premier album complet depuis « Swearing at the Sun », la collaboration avec le musicien allemand Jayrope (Air Cushion Finish, Prinzenallee) sortie en 2010. Enregistré à l’été 2014 à la Coop Coup d’Griffe à Montréal, « Le Jardin des Espèces » est le fruit d’une séance d’improvisation réunissant Khyro aux électroniques, ypl à la guitare et aux synthétiseurs, Éric Gingras (Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche, Enfant Magique) à la basse électrique et au synthétiseur et Samuel Bobony à la batterie (Black Givre, Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche). Pierre-Guilhem Roudet a par la suite enregistré des pistes de trombone, réintégrées et arrangées par Scott Da Ros.

« Le Jardin des Espèces » est une œuvre étrange, mélangeant rap, free-jazz et rock expérimental. Inspiré par les sorties du label français Futura, cet album rappelle l’esthétique des groupes du mouvement Rock In Opposition en France (Lard Free, Heldon, Barricade…), genre qu’a admirablement cerné le critique musical Byron Coley dans les pages du Wire, lorsqu’il s’est attardé à la sortie de la cassette « Swearing at the Sun » et du 45 tours « Black Meat/Looking for Dr. Benway » sur Luana Records.

En réintégrant le rap idiosyncratique de Khyro sur Le Jardin des Espèces, Héliodrome se rapproche aussi de ces groupes pour qui la distinction entre rap et slam est superflue (Programme, Diabologum, Psykick Lyrikah). Les textes qui composent cet album gravitent autour d’une thématique centrale, soit ce passage du mythe religieux et mystique à celui de l’inconscient et du langage. Inspiré par un travail sur soi incessant, on peut déceler dans ces textes des références à des penseurs tels G.I. Gurdjieff, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Farid Al-Din Attar, Abdelkébir Khatibi, Ramm El Zee, et Félix Guattari…pour ne nommer que ceux-ci.

Le design et l’illustration de l’album a été réalisé par l’artiste Louis-Martin Tremblay (LMTL 75), qui a également réalisé les illustrations pour les albums « Suce mon Index » de Traumaturges et « Swearing at the Sun ». Réalisée à partir de l’écoute de l’album, les thématiques de la famille, du père et du jardin d’Éden ont infusé sa réalisation.

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