Xavier Garcia and Lionel Marchetti FIMAV, Victoriaville QC, May 19

Xavier Garcia and Lionel Marchetti FIMAV, Victoriaville QC, May 19
Photo: Martin Morissette
French duo Xavier Garcia and Lionel Marchetti were given a special setup on a small, raised stage surrounded by the audience on all sides. They performed their sound art wizardry like a couple of close-up of magicians, but even at ten feet away, it remained difficult to fully grasp which gesture with what object modified by which knob twist resulted in what sound.
The centrepiece of Marchetti's work is  a well-worn vintage reel-to-reel setup with a tape loop. With a wide array of contact microphones at his disposal, he captured, and looped, the sounds of everything from plastic bottles to power drills, feverishly working each choice of level and layer.
Garcia's craft was more modernist, with laptop, sampling keyboard and a variety of pads, he spent most of the show developing and refining sounds of his own devising, plus the live input from Marchetti's feed.
For an hour, they traded clicks, pops, and spewed forth cavernous sound, describing all manner of alien landscapes. Like the most skilled improvisers, their interplay showed a stellar sensitivity to texture and space, plus a great ability to listen and react. In a style of art where it is all too easy to rely on chance and noise,  the duo's skill in forging something both emotional and intellectually engaging was truly amazing.