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JUSTINE

RIO/Avant-Prog • Canada


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Justine biography
Justine is an avant-garde band that was founded in Montréal (Québec), Canada. It is the second musical project of Joane Hétu, Diane Labrosse and Danielle Roger (the first being Wondeur Brass and the third, Les Poules). They recorded two albums in the nineties, (Suite) and Languages fantastiques. At that period, they already toured in Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Yougoslavia and United Kingdom) and in the United States of America with their first band, Wondeur Brass, wich I consider the most important band of the "trilogy".

Biography written by Gabriel Rivest (Tsevir Leirbag)

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3.05 | 3 ratings
(Suite)
1990
3.00 | 2 ratings
Languages fantastiques
1995

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JUSTINE Reviews


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 Languages fantastiques by JUSTINE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Languages fantastiques
Justine RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

If Justine's debut album was a pleasant and still accessible album, their second (and last so far) Laguages Fantastiques takes things to their logical farther step (and sometimes downright feminist, Québecoises obligent ;o))), making this album much less accessible, but ultimately more rewarding. The band had become so tight that they recorded "live" this much more complex album in just three days in July 94. An unchanged line-up now sees then- newcoming bassist Trudeau now filly integrated in the band and participates in the (lesser than previously) vocals as well.

Right from the start, the Mid-eastern sounding sax from leader Joane Hétu will give a unique colour to La Cigale s'Impatiente, obviously referring to Lafontaine's fables, but the track veers dissonant by the end of the short sung passage. The rest is just an impressive rebuilding process, where Danielle's drum and Marie's bass are outstanding and the tension created by Diane's keyboards is sooo tense. Manigances And Quem Sabe are much in the same vein, the sung tracks playing tricks and plays on words, and if not funny, the texts are at least amusing and often well adapted to the music? or should I say the music fits the words? In either case, this is still Hétu's boat and her sax playing is simply dazzling. Things get downright weird with the very strange Vidanges Domestiques, where the texts are now declaimed on acid over white and electronic noises, and the quartet tests your patience and forgiveness for making it a bit long.

This second album sees Joanne and the girls pushing RIO and avant-prog so far down the line, that Miriodor or Interference Sardine might sound a little lame next to the extreme attack of Justine's music. Seeing the girls live would've been a really special evening out. Not really recommended to everyone, but if you dare it, you'll probably love it.

 (Suite) by JUSTINE album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.05 | 3 ratings

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(Suite)
Justine RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars After breaking up Wondeur Brass and still toying with Les Poules, Joanne Hétu created this group for more wild adventures on the same label Ambiances Magnétiques. Indeed Justine might even appear to be to Hétu what Nimal was to Debile Menthol and l'Ensemble Rayé to JM Rosset?. The third stage of their respective musical rockets. The fact that these groups appeared in the French-speaking side of their country and more or less existed during the same years (from 82 to 95) and both played music close to avant-garde and RIO helps making another parallel between the two careers. Both of them were close to EtronFou Leloublan, Art Bears and Samla Manna, musically speaking, too, both defending a certain calculated madness in their music, also to create many theatrics on stage. The main difference between Wondeur Brass and Justine is the departure of two members of the brass section, leaving Hétu as the solme member still blowing in her instrument, while Trudeau replaced Gruber on bass.

Suite is a rather long (65 mins) suite of tracks where the typical madness of French- speaking Rio reigns supreme, along some often dissonant music, even if the dissonance never get deeply dissonant. All of the music is written by Hétu and the texts/lyrics are handled Danielle & Diane (the old WB members) and sung by the trio, often sounding like Dagmar Krause of Slap Happy, HC and Art Bears fame). BTW, guest Zeena Parkins plays electric harp on the opening track. As the booklet mentions, Justine is about scores, techniques, reality and improvisations, order and disorder, pleasure and seriousness. Just as Hétu is the leader of the band, her saxophone is ever more present, sometimes alone, pulling sounds to raise the hairs from your spine, screeching and scratching, appealing repelling and appalling at the same time, but somehow strangely hypnotic. Their singing is often playful with the French language (as is generally the case with Ambiances Magnétiques releases) and the accent is very neutral, so it shouldn't be too much a problem to non-native speakers.

In some ways one has to "wondeur" whether if this group was not Miriodor's ater ego, both groups hailing from Montreal and having hit/toured the European continent between 89 and 91. XCertainly worth hearing for every RIO fan, but if a certain level of mastery of French is indeed needed, Justine will make it easy for you to follow the texts

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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