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The Hylozoists

The Hylozoists - L'Ile de Sept Villes

L'Ile de Sept Villes
Outside Music - 2009

Michael Panontin
The Hylozoists' third long-player, L'Ile de Sept Villes, finds leader/composer Paul Aucoin's already deft arrangements flanked by the lilting strings of the Ashbridges Octet. Taking its name from a book by Canadian architect and amateur archeologist Paul Chiasson (who theorizes that the Chinese may have reached the shores of Cape Breton long before the arrival of Columbus), L'Ile de Sept Villes is much like its predecessor, the delightful La Fin du Monde, which is to say a disc of dreamy soundscapes and plush orchestration. On L'Ile..., however, Aucoin does a little spring cleaning, clearing the sonic clutter that has sometimes tainted his otherwise excellent compositions. The ethereal 'Bras d'Or Lakes', for instance, features a hushed backdrop of organ and piano that sets the stage for Aucoin's vibraphone, here more minimal and spacious than on past discs. Ditto for the quietly spectacular 'Dark Scene Waltz', with its stunning musical plait of vibes, guitar and strings. But the real gems are the string arrangements, like on the record's namesake, the near-epic 'The Island of Seven Cities', where feathery violins, violas and cellos skate atop a nervous rhythm. Not exactly quantum leaps, but each new Hylozoists record marks a step forward for one of Canada's most interesting bands.



     Outside Music

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