l'Oumigmag means muskox in Inukitut (the Inuit language spoken in the central and eastern Canadian arctic, which includes Quebec). Territoires is an impressionistic journey through the imaginary, spiritual and geographic territories of Quebec. Guitarist/composer l'Oumigmag took inspiration from contemporary jazz and traditional music. Opener "Lac Arthabaska" (Lake Arthabaska) starts the album on a bright, upbeat note. Sauvageau's acoustic guitar and Alex Dodier's tenor saxophone front line call an ECM date with Jan Garbarek to mind.
The introduction to "Est" (East) goes into more impressionistic territory, Dodier's soprano saxophone and the guitar accompanied by Stéphane Diamantakiou's arco double bass and cymbal washes from drummer Philippe Lussier- Baillargeon. Then the music becomes rhythmic, eventually morphing into a sinuous Middle Eastern-sounding theme. Most of the band contributes vocal chanting to "Sud" (South), giving way to a short unaccompanied bass solo before returning to the insistent 6/8 groove.
"Ouest" (West) is a lyrical showcase for the entire band most of the way through, joined by traditional singer Normand Miron for a sprightly final section. Closer "Pour la suite du mond" (For the World Suite) provides a contemplative ending, featuring Ariane Vaillancourt's soaring wordless vocals on a traditional Québécois air from the 1963 documentary film of the same name. A fitting conclusion to a collection of music inspired by a sense of place. l'Oumigmag do not strictly limit themselves to local source material, however, and the music is stronger for the broader perspective.
1. Lake Arthabaska; 2. East; 3. South; 4. West; 5. North; 6. For the World Suite.
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