Qualité Réduite – Montreal bands doing it 80s style

After a successful first go at it, Qualité Réduite is ready to show us a second episode made up of tracks performed by local artists.  The project remains essentially the same: The collective creates and records live sessions all while aiming to give an alternative solution to the sometimes crisp and clean ways of showcasing and promoting musical talents. And heck, bring a little fun into it. The first volume immediately sparked interest with it’s delivery format, the good ol’ VHS, but even more so with it’s unusual recording for this day and age.  

Taking the obvious sweet VHS factor aside for a sec, the striking thing when you first check the project out is how it perfectly marries sound and image.  Lo-fi sound recording is in, and even has bad ass ring to it.  A similar quality video?  Not so much:  it’s not as popular and is still associated with “80s” type of recordings due to the time’s technological limitations.  What Qualité Réduite attempts to do it create an overall viewing experience, streamlining technical flaws in sound and image, even making it look pretty freaking cool. I mean, hey, if the raw quality and imperfectness of sound can be reimagined and adopted in this day and age, why not a video to accompany it?

Musically, the project doesn’t target one genre. “Though the bands don’t play the same type of music, [the music] has the same aesthetic style to it” mentions Thierry Sirois, one third of the project’s instigators, alongside Renard Cassé (Analogue Addiction) and Samuel Gemme (co-owner ReelRoad Studios).  So how does an artist make it’s way to a Qualité Réduite session?  Sirois (LZR Films Director and Cinematographer) says it counterparts his recording ways: it’s no exact science, it’s a gut feeling. A sound that might be somewhat scratchy, raw, a little less calculated in it’s nature is exactly what they are going for, and you can find that in electro, indie rock, post-punk or alternative.

This time around, the groups involved in the project are a little less emerging, a little more established. “Vol. 2” features Duchess SaysWe Are WolvesElephant StoneCorridorChoses SauvagesCO ∕ NTRYLE MATOS and Heat.  Though we know the names, all of them  have been busy either releasing new music and/or going out on tour.  There’s momentum and Qualité Réduite wants to boost it up by shedding light on the local talents.

Notwithstanding the fact that the project brings Montreal’s music scene back to the VHS era, it also throws it into a yearless vault. “When you look at a live sessions from which ever year, whether it’d be 2002, 2007 or 2016, you can almost instantly know when it was created.” Sirois explains.  “We want to dissociate the look with the year, so that in 5 years, you won’t know when the video was taken”.  We’d say mission accomplished. Adding a final touch of quirkiness, Qualité Réduite tapes their sessions on top of existing movies: 30 minutes in to be precise.  (80s-90s kids out there know that’s how things used to roll.) Specific types of VHS’? Nope. “We have all sorts of movies.  This time, we’ve got everything from “The Lion King“, to one entitledPape Jean Paul 2: Pèlerinage de foi, d’espérance et d’Amour.Shot Gun.

Qualité Réduite will launch Vol.2 on January 31st, at the Matahari Loft, from 5@9.

About Caroline Royer

NUMTL Founder and Editor-in-chief, Caroline is an Ottawa-born Montrealer who has spent the better part of her life playing and listening to music. Otherwise, she is a diehard Sens fan, freakishly into architecture and industrial design and terrible at staying put for more than 5 minutes.