The duo of Arthur Bull on guitars & harmoia and Eric Normand on electric bass and tenor banjo, and both on voice, taking on American rural songs--delta blues, cajun music, and Quebecois laments, &c--with a modern eye and a good sense of humor.
Label: Tour de Bras
Released in: Canada
"Arthur Bull and Éric Normand are both very active on the improvised music scene, but here they indulge in a side trip through Americana, wide spaces, and the oral tradition. The Surruralists have a new take on rural life and how to reclaim America's traditional folk songs. Armed with guitars, banjos, basses, harmonicas, and their voices, they revisit styles like delta blues, cajun music, and Québécois laments, while inserting nods, winks, skids, and deliberate omissions, all to let the good times roll.
Both improvisers, Bull and Normand live in Canadian non-urban environments: Lake Midway (NS) in Bull's case, Rimouski (QC) in Normand's. This project is a fun mix of irony toward urban life and "Canadian unity" on one hand, and genuine devotion to the oral tradition on the other.
Guitarist Arthur Bull has been active sporadically on the Canadian free improvisation scene since the '70s. Much like his compatriot, pianist Al Neil, or the British guitarist Roger Smith, he has kept a low profile and has remained cruelly underdocumented. His playing draws inspiration in Derek Bailey's musical vocabulary, with maybe a hint of folk or American roots music in the phrasing. Bull is also a poet, with three collections published in Canada and a translator from Chinese to English. In the early 2000s he was earning a living developing local resource management programs for fishing communities in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Bull's music career starts in Toronto where he was living when American free jazz and European Free Improvisation began to stir interest in Canadian musicians. He took an active part in the communities of artists active in the '70s and '80s, playing with the CCMC -- Toronto's longest-running free improv group -- Michael Snow, the Bill Smith Ensemble, the Paul Cram Ensemble, David Prentice, John Oswald, and Paul Dutton. He occasionally accompanied the spoken word/sound poetry quartet the Four Horsemen (Dutton, Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Steve McCaffery, and BP Nichol) and shared the stage with such luminaries as Derek Bailey and Roscoe Mitchell when they were in town.
In 1990 he moved to Sandy Cove, a small village of fishermen in Nova Scotia. Momentarily disheartened with music, he focused on his writing, publishing Hawthorn and Key to the Highway. In 1996 he hooked up with Daniel Heïkalo, another experimental guitarist -- this one from Montreal -- who had moved to the Maritime province a decade earlier and lived nearby. The duo has been playing regularly since 1999. The release of the CD Dérapages à Cordes on the label Ambiances Magnétiques in 2000 marked Bull's "comeback" to public music. A solo disc, Guitar Solo, followed in 2001 on his friend's imprint Heïkalo Sound Productions. In May of that year, the group appeared at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville. In 2002 they performed at the Guelph Jazz Festival and Guitarévolution (Montréal).
Éric Normand is a composer, improviser, bassist, instrument designer, and record and concert producer, all in one. He defines himself as an epidisciplinary musician, a free electron driven by its yearning for meetings. In his book, composition cannot exist without exchange, since composition consists in setting up a territory that will facilitate improvisation.The interlocutors who have taken part to his numerous composition and production projects are sound engineers, radio producers, musicians, and sound artists. Living in a remote location (Rimouski), he ponders the concept of distance. He builds portable instruments and involves musicians in projects designed with very basic or high-tech communication tools. When he wanders around, he likes to improvises. His latest such meetings have featured Pierre-Yves Martel, Danielle Palardy Roger, Magali Babin and Anne-Françoise Jacques. His music has been programmed by or performed in several festivals in Canada (Festival de Musiques de Création - Jonquière, Reflux - Moncton, Productions SuperMusique - Montréal, Mois Multi - Québec, etc.) and Europe (Festival Rue du Nord - Switzerland, Festival des Musiques Insolentes - France, Les Rencontres à l'Échelle - France, etc). They have also been broadcasted by Radio-Canada, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, Radio-Grenouille, and several college radio stations."-Tour de Bras
Limited edition of 100 copies.
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Song Based Music
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Limited edition of 100 copies.
Label: Tour de Bras
Catalog ID: None
Squidco Product Code: 19956
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Arthur Bull-acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, voice
Eric Normand-electronic bass, tenor banjo, voice
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1. DREAM (Arthur Bull)
2. LA FEMME DU SOLDAT (folklore)
3. The Ballad Of Stagger Lee (traditional)
4. LULU (Arthur Bull)
5. UN MACAQUE SUR MON DOS (cajun version of "Monkey On My Back (J.I. Dupin, Jr., E. Shuler))
6. DISTANT FIELD (Juke Boy Bonner)