Mecha Fixes Clock is Michel F. Coté, a veteran of Montreal’s thriving experimental scene. On “Orbiting with Screwdrivers” he has assembled a carefully chosen ensemble from the city’s vibrant Musique Actuelle community. Coté laboured over countless hours of recordings that were made over the years in various situations by each of the album’s contributors.
The amazing thing about “Orbiting With Screwdrivers” is how different it sounds from recorded works of its various participants. This is due to the process through which the album was created, with one artist determining how each of the musician’s prerecorded sounds would be included in the final composition.
The sound and overall feel of this fantastic album might be referred to it as ambient improv, and it shares some characteristics with a number of projects on Norway’s Rune Gramophone label. What makes this recording stand out is the fact that despite employing a wide variety of instrumentation there remains an overall cohesive element that brings the whole recording together. To refer to the music as cinematic might seem too easy but it is indeed the case and references can be made to projects like Rachels and Boxhead Ensemble.
Orbiting with Screwdrivers is broken down into seven tracks and clocks in just under the fifty-minute mark. Standout tracks include the opening cut “Disability for 9e- motion”, which recalls Michel F. Coté’s improv power-trio, Klaxon Guelle, which features Bernard Falaise and Alexandre St-Onge, both of whom also appear on this recording. “Nanao Rotary for Nothing” is at times similar to Sam Shalabi’s technique used on his second solo outing, “On Hashish”. Here a gentle piano comes in and out of the mix while quiet electronics and miniature sounds shape the track. The recording closes with “Mecca’s Dance”. With the gorgeous trombone of Tom Walsh is the center of the piece, Coté again weaves in other musicians and beautifully mixes and edits their parts resulting in a cinematic masterpiece that recalls Italian composer Ennio Morricone.
Track List: Disability for (E) motion, Still Out of Order, Repa’s Clicking Hands, Mechanism Rarely Lasts, Give My Regards to Time, Nano Rotatory for Nothing and Mecca’s Dance.
List of Participants: Michel F. Coté: electronics, percussions, keyboards, accordions, machines, computer and homemade instruments; Lou Babin: accordion; Marc Boivin: movement; Jean Derome: bass flute; Jacques Drouin: piano; Bernard Falaise: electric guitar; Dianne Labrosse: sampler; Jean-Denis Levasseur: bass clarinet; Christof Migone: home spun electronics and microphones; Bernard Poirier: clarinet; Jean René: viola, Martin Tetréault: homemade instruments and needles; Undo: sampled CD; Tom Walsh: trombone.