Fans of Quebec rock music have long complained that Radio-Canada has ignored live performance. Now comes Studio 12 (Sundays at 11 p.m.), from the same large locale where the more mainstream M pour musique (Thursdays at 9 p.m.) is recorded. While both programs feature a compelling mix of established acts with up-and-comers, Studio 12 offers a freer interaction between featured artists and their guests, with last Sunday's edition being a spectacular case in point.
Karkwa - who with Malajube are the overwhelming heartthrobs of the alternative crowd - welcomed the much respected singer and instrumentalist Mara Tremblay,
newcomer Marie-Pierre Arthur (whose eponymous debut album was produced by the group and veteran Galaxie 500 guitarist Olivier Langevin, who also appeared on the show) and Mile End hotshots Plants and Animals (who grace the label started by Patrick Watson, another occasional Karkwa collaborator).
This one-off was surprisingly organic, as if they'd all been playing together for years. This type of creative collaboration is what the local scene is all about. "We're a generation of wired threads," as Karkwa frontman Louis-Jean Cormier put it.
The show is well served by Rad-Can's high production values: clever editing (quick cuts but not at the expense of being able to study the musicianship), expressionistic camera angles, superb sound that allows the show to be reprised on radio (Première Chaine on Fridays at 11:10 p.m., and Espace musique on Sundays at 4:30 p.m.).
Next up is Martin Léon, with guests Louise Forestier, Gage and Elisapee Isaac, followed a week later by Yann Perreau, with Loco Locass, Damien Robitaille and Ève Cournoyer. The show is taped on Thursday afternoons. To join the studio audience, go to www.radio-canada.ca/radio/studio12/, or phone 514-529-0402.
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Marie-Pierre Arthur is not a household name - although she's accompanied Ariane Moffatt and others on bass and vocals - yet her debut album (on the Bonsound label) symbolizes everything that is creatively fertile and friendly on the Montreal music scene.
Arthur has a musician's mentality - trying to expand horizons melodically (she has a trace of Joni Mitchell in her) - and so she has attracted some of the city's top musicians to her cause: Karkwa's imaginative keyboardist François Lafontaine and guitarist-singer Cormier, drummer Robbie Kuster (who backs Watson, who in turn helped arrange the strings), guitarist Langevin, and string players Guido del Fabbro (of Pierre Lapointe's band) and Mélanie Auclair, both "outward" bound musicians who've become pop-rock mainstays.
Her voice is in continual oscillation: She can sing high notes like an angel, then get down like a street urchin, then float the reflective languor typical of her generation. The album is one of the most impressive debuts in recent years. (....)
[ Gabnews rappel] : http://www.radio-canada.ca/radio/studio12/archives.asp?idAlbum=117