Since 1978 guitarist René Lussier
has taken an active part in the rise and institutionalization of the Montreal "musique actuelle" scene. It was only in May 2000 that he released his first solo guitar album. Solos de Guitare Électrique
was recorded in 1998 in the studio with eight microphones placed in front of the amplifier, behind it, around the room, and even in the adjacent studio. The audio perspective changes from one piece to the next and sometimes within one improvisation, expanding the sound palette. In the late '90s, Lussier
's playing had become a lot more self-absorbed and abstract, less and less related to rock or jazz improvisation and getting closer to improvised audio art. His use of steel wool and other devices to brush, crunch, and scratch the strings and pickups often results in textures with the character of electro-acoustics. The clownish side of Lussier
's music is absent on this record. In consequence, it tends to be more linear; ideas remain narrow, but well executed. Lussier
is better when he must respond to another player, as on Qu'Ouïs-je? with Martin Tétreault. Here, he produces interesting textures, but the whole thing lacks some emotion, a third dimension. Not as engaging as other electric guitar-only albums like Hans Tammen
's Endangered Guitars, it still remains worthwhile, especially for those who want to study the guitarist's playing up close.