Release date: March 4, 2022
Volume I is the debut album from Flore Laurentienne, the vessel of composer Mathieu David Gagnon. Calling upon the rugged wilderness of Quebec to augment a series of orchestral synergies, Volume I, originally released at the tail end of 2019, is now offered in new form and foundation for wider appreciation.
Flore Laurentienne nests in the history of botanical writing as the namesake of an inventory documenting flora in the St. Lawrence Valley, the area where Gagnon was born and raised. The musical vision of Flore Laurentienne is illumined by Johann Sebastian Bach, the contrapuntal master and one of Gagnon’s greatest inspirations. An innately ambitious project imagined by the classically trained musician, Volume I was recorded with a fifteen-piece string orchestra and an arsenal of early synthesizers, including the Minimoog Model D, the EMS Synthi and combo organs.
Intimate studies of melody transition into enigmatic motifs throughout the compositions of Volume I, unfurling like sacred organisms within sculptural emulations of vast boreal forest, mountainous plateaus, and lowland plains. The ensemble cast stringed webs around earthy, textural synths, evoking the time-lapse swelling of seasons and the harmonic connection between nature and humankind.
In its cyclical magnetism, Volume I envisions nascent buds and fallen leaves as if through a botanical loupe; Gagnon catalogs his surroundings in technicolor moments of blossoming arpeggio, and plaintive, aching tones of decay. The record opens and closes with variations of the enigmatic “Fleuve,” which relates Gagnon’s philosophy to a painter who depicts the same landscape several times, but no two canvases are ever the same.
Volume I spans across serene to discordant territories. The album is a meeting place for these divergent contours, rooted in the synthesis of opposing rhythmic and melodic forces, and the equilibrium between soaring string compositions and the glowing tremors of analog synths. Gagnon’s construction of sound through rich, sensorial textures provides the seeds from which entire ecosystems emerge, and breaks through the classical and popular music milieu to arrive at expansive horizons of instrumentation and imagery.
Flore Laurentienne’s Volume I will be offered anew on March 4, 2022 via RVNG Intl. and Costume Records. A portion of the proceeds from the album will benefit The Saint-Laurent Action Fund, which promotes the conservation of ecosystems and the maintenance of uses of the St. Lawrence River and its Gulf by supporting projects for the preservation, enhancement and rehabilitation of the river, as well as projects for education and awareness of issues of the St. Lawrence River.