Published May 18, 2018Montreal's David Dugas Dion started his climb to the Mountain back in the early '00s, with his noisy indie-psych project David and the Woods. Over the years, through the formation of his Cuchabata Records label and a variety of rock and experimental projects, his reputation and circle grew.
For this year's FIMAV, he presented a 12-member iteration of the ensemble he has been developing since 2016. A whirlwind of jazz improv, noise and explosive rock rhythms, featuring a roster of new-to-FIMAV musicians, plus festival ringers Sam Shalabi and Alexandre St-Onge, David and the Mountain Ensemble reached a number of transcendent moments, from the opening percussion intro to a latter stage pulsing low-end drone that recalled early-era Earth.
A little too much of the performance felt like underdeveloped connective tissue, and moments that might have been used as transitions were extended past the point of forward movement. Sections where the brass instruments, saxophonists Genevieve Gauthier and Félix-Antoine Hamel and trombonist Reüel Ordonez, rose out of the massed sound were energizing, but too brief and often struggling against the sheets of guitar and electronics.
Dugas did manage to carve a shape out of the bedrock of sound he slowly rolled up his mountain, maintaining the FIMAV late show tradition of renewal and experimentation.