André Duchesne

Jonquière, Québec, 1949

  • Composer
  • Performer (guitar, electric guitar)

In words and in music, the symphonic rock style of André Duchesne has been inspired by the science fiction that surreptitiously infiltrates our ordinary daily lives. While the rest of the planet devoted itself to disco towards the middle of the 1970s, Duchesne was initiating Quebecers to contemporary music; he was leading the way along a new path.

From the beginning of his career, he has resolutely positioned himself against the muzak androids. As his music contains an element of rock, he will always be stigmatised by the “purists” of contemporary music, who judge it to be too “popular.” Yet it constitutes an original way of introducing new music to neophytes. In his compositions, instinct intentionally rules over the intellect. In spite of this, he composes mesmerising melodic lines with the precision of a mathematician. Some of his “riffs” are implacable machines, like locomotives (his favourite obsession) flying off the rails. At once experimental singer (Le temps des bombes), soundtrack composer (André Forcier’s L’eau chaude l’eau frette and Bar Salon, as well as all the films of the Gagné brothers), conductor of a “fuzzy” guitar quartet (Les quatre guitaristes de l’Apocalypso Bar), accompanist of timeless laments (Michel Faubert’s Maudite mémoire) and multisonic cowboy relating his travels across the “Altrase” (L’ ou ‘L): who is André Duchesne?

Imagine an electric Béla Bartók: Duchesne is one of those “audio novelists” who, like Frank Zappa, creates a different universe with each new album, a serial to be followed from disc to disc. Across a myriad of styles, his characters borrow from multiple lives. Under the eye of God Economy, braving all the Inspector Balourx’s of the world, number 133 (his alter ego) sings the different stages of his journey with the troubadours of the moment in time. His father would have wanted him to be a mechanic. No doubt this is why his work features machines of all sorts. Between cyborgs and robots - sworn enemies-, trains, locomotives and other diesel vehicles that deserve his odes, these machines and the mechanics of composing don’t resemble each other at all. Certain cogwheels crush the grain of eternity. But Duchesne will always face the music.

Source: Bob L’Aboyeur, 1996