- Montréal (Québec), 1958
- Composer • Performer (percussion)
A ubiquitous musician and composer, Michel F Côté was born in Montréal, the year the submarine USS Nautilus made history by travelling under the North Pole’s ice cap. His concerts and recordings have received praise locally and abroad. Since 1990, he has appeared on more than 60 albums. He is associated with the Ambiances Magnétiques label, on top of being the co-founder of the label &records. He his now running a brand new label, Sono sordo. A drummer and percussionist with an idiosyncratic, almost anaphylactic style, Michel F Côté plays like no one else. He is a multi-instrumentalist blazing his own trail and using whatever he needs. We can find him backing up these acts: Mecha Fixes Clocks, Klaxon Gueule, Pink Saliva, Jane and The Magick Bananas, Quatuor Minéraliste, and Tiari Kese — a duo with himself. He composes a great deal for theatre and dance projects (Robert Lepage, Wajdi Mouawad, Brigitte Haentjens, Marie Brassard, Martin Faucher, Sylvain Émard, José Navas, Louise Bédard, Benoît Lachambre and Ginette Laurin, among others). Indeed, he has over a hundred projects under his belt, making him a very prolific composer/designer. He has partnered up with Catherine Tardif as co-artistic directors for the dance company Et Marianne et Simon (6,3 évanouissements, 2014, Mobilier mental, 2016). He is also dreaming up schemes with choreographer Catherine Lavoie-Marcus (Schizes sur le sundae, 2013). Together, they collaborate on the art magazine esse.
Wednesday, May 4 – Wednesday, August 31, 2022Online event
Friday, April 1 – Monday, June 6, 2022
Monday, March 21 – Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Wednesday, June 2 – Wednesday, 16, 2021Online event
Wednesday, February 24 – Sunday, August 15, 2021Online event
Thursday, November 26, 2020 – Tuesday, March 2, 2021Online event
Wednesday, October 19 – Saturday, 22, 2005
Thursday, June 9 – Wednesday, 15, 2005
Thursday, June 5 – Friday, 13, 2003
Thursday, April 5 – Friday, 13, 2001
In the press
Fred Frith played in Montréal recently along with some very talented local free improv players. I was fortunate enough to catch the show…
Legendary avant-garde guitarist Fred Frith dropped by Montréal’s Cabaret Juste Pour Rire the other night for a duo show with drummer Danielle Palardy Roger, and an opening set by two incredible percussionists - Michel F Côté and Isaiah Ceccarelli.
Côté and Ceccarelli started things off with nothing but drums. Côté was behind a standard kit extended with lots of toys and two mics rigged up two a pair of Pignose amps. Ceccarelli just had a bass drum lying on a chair along with, again, lots of toys. The pieces were all very brief which was really nice, and despite the fact that drums alone might seem limited, each piece was very different from those that came before – sound loud and frenetic, others quiet, one actually managed to elicit quite a bit of laughter from the audience, which I’m hoping was a good thing. Côté used the mics as drum sticks to great effect - creating all kinds of unusual sounds of tension and release, friction, surprisingly dynamic feedback that almost made one think of the expressiveness of the Theremin, and there were moments of all out, distorted, banging-on-a-drum fun. The feedbacking drums were paired up really well with Ceccarelli’s bowed playing. A great set.
Fred Frith and Danielle Palardy Roger were up second and once they began playing, they did not stop until their set was finished — a really long and well laid-out musical journey with lots of highlights and unexpected twists and turns. Fred pulled out every trick in the prepared guitar book - from the old twanging drum stick between the strings to an array of effects and looping pedals and beyond. But with his mastery of music and his instrument it never felt like he was depending on the gimmicks, more using them to great effect to build up a complex, multilayered soundscape and every-evolving composition. He was well matched up with Danielle Palardy Roger, who also had all of the extended techniques and managed to make great music with them. They both seemed to be following their own paths the whole way not interacting too much like some free improv players do, creating a sort of back and forth conversation type of sound, but their individual paths meshed perfectly well together, so maybe they were both just following the music more than their own instrumental egos. Adding an extra oomph to the coolness of the show was when first Fred Frith let loose a barrage of percussive and wailing tribal vocals, followed a little later on by vocal sounds along similar lines from Danielle Palardy Roger. Took it to another level beyond the often staid confines of stylized free improv into something more about music in a broader and more sophisticated sense.
An awesome concert, and I think it was part of a recording project so it may see the light of day on CD in the not too distant future…