Montréal based audiovisual artist, classically trained pianist and prolific producer, Lyndsie Alguire released her latest album ‘...like butterfly wings’ last month on Reflections.
It’s fresh like a breeze and free of beats, a perfect pairing for your weekend wind down. Haven’t listened yet? Check it out here.
The 11-track album is rooted in both childhood innocence and the beauty and mystique of nature, with tracks structured around a handful of piano notes so expertly placed they sound alight with power.
Here, Lyndsie shares her story with us, giving us a glimpse into her life in Montréal and how growing up in the city led her to this point...
“My knees are probably 10-15 years older than I am from all the shows I played knelt on the floor.
In Montréal, I played in houses and lofts in like Jacuzzi Club, La Poisson Noir, and La Plante; small bars and clubs like La Vitrola (RIP), La Sotterranea (the basement below the beloved venue La Sala Rossa), and Casa del Popolo; at galleries for my friend’s exhibits and installations like Camp Gallery (“camp is a tender feeling”); and festivals like MUTEK, Pop Montréal, Lux Magna, and Practice at Never Apart.
I was invited to play at MUTEK when I first moved to Montréal and all I had were a couple of tracks on Soundcloud and my electric piano. I had to turn it down as I didn’t have any portable instruments or even a laptop at the time, but luckily got my chance 3 times since then!”
“La Plante was (another Covid-19 casualty) a cultural touchstone in Montréal. A communal living space / venue situated in a dilapidated loft above a mechanic’s garage on the train tracks. It wasn’t zoned for residential use, so the building owner letting people live in it was kept hush-hush. Makeshift walls and loft beds were erected as needed.
A steep twisting staircase with a half-working light strobing and flickering led up to a space with sagging wood floors, plants everywhere (hence the name), a modest kitchen with bar seating, a disco ball, psychedelic murals painted all over the walls, an out-of-tune upright piano, and all manner of mis-matched furniture and knick-knacks.
The treacherous back staircase acted as both fire escape and access to the back garden along the train tracks.”
“Drone Sleepovers at La Plante were overnight, seamless, collaborative drone events that took place in a blanket fort. If you were lucky, your set would be enhanced by the sound of a train passing by directly behind the loft, whose sagging wooden floors crowned an auto mechanic’s garage below.
Drone Sleepovers were where I really learned to get comfortable playing in front of people, and where I met a lot of the people I still know today. They were a communal experience that completely decentralized (if not erased) the performer and democratized the idea of a “show.” Anyone could join - we played scattered about on the floor. You could call dibs on “peak” time slots on a sheet of paper in the kitchen, but otherwise it was very free-flowing and collaborative. You begin fading out as the next person or group begins fading in. No beats allowed - just pure drone for sleeping and patting the resident cat.
Local artist Swarm would do installations of fabric portals adorned with stars, angel wings, and twinkle lights. Jean (aka Joni Void) would set up his projector glass (a faceted crystal glass taped over the lens of a projector for hazy shifting lights and colours.”
“Aegis is a spontaneous live act that only ever happened twice, between myself and SD. I think we met at one of the first shows I played, at a house called Jacuzzi Club. We’ve always collaborated on each other’s solo projects and cheered each other on.
I kind of like how ephemeral and self-contained this moment in time was. The music was all improvisational. In one photo you can see me crawling under the table to ask her how we should round off the set.
SD is most known for her projects Desolatum, Orbs of Light, and High Grove.”
“Thomas Boucher and I formed tinycastles in 2015, a post-rock-tinged ambient project, after meeting at one of Montréal’s Drone Sleepovers. It was a semi-improvised project of delay-drenched finger-picked guitar, ebow, synth, and vocal loops.
We released an EP on MiniDisc through Time Released Sound, who I’d collaborated with for some of my solo releases. They specialize in limited run batches of one-of-a-kind handmade musical releases using found materials and the type of antiques you might find in an estate sale. Each copy of the tinycastles EP (Lull) came with a book of collage works made from black and white cutouts of castles and ruins.
The project fizzled out when Thomas temporarily moved away from Montréal and I started a 9-5.
I still cherish the project. I learned how fun it is to play LOUD. I still prefer making music as a solitary activity, but I learned a lot from this collaboration.”
Le Néon Rouge
“Le Néon Rouge was a commune-esque plot of land in Sutton, Quebec with an old white chapel on the property, as well as a vegetable garden.
The evening started off with ambient, experimental, and noise performances (I played in that first category), and some BBQ. As the night wore on it became a techno rave in the chapel, with a bonfire and folks camping outside. I woke up in my tent around 6 or 7 am to the sounds of the rave that hadn’t run out of steam all night. The neighbours complained.”
“It’s cramped, but it’s mine. I used a borrowed Moog Subharmonicon for this album, which was completely unplanned. With a couple exceptions, everything on the table is borrowed or second-hand. DIY means unlocking the power of sharing, trading, hand-me-downs.
There are a lot of gear-heads out there. The mischievous part of me wants to keep making projects with cheap and unremarkable instruments out of spite forever, because I don’t buy into that lifestyle / culture. I always love when a gear-head approaches my table after a show to ask what gear I use, and I get to show them my absolutely beat up microKORG with chunks missing out of the siding and a couple of buttons that don’t work. It’s been with me through a lot.
The full size electric piano on the right was a gift from my grandparents when I was young and working my way up the grade levels of the Royal Conservatory of Music. It sounds prestigious but my lessons were taught by a sweet old Italian immigrant in a broom closet at the back of my hometown music store. I’ll be devastated if this keyboard were ever to need retiring; it holds unquantifiable sentimental value.”
“A long-time friend turned life partner who really coaxed me out of my borderline agoraphobia. I’ve long been inspired by his creative practice, and he’s always been supportive of mine.
In the years before we became an item, I benefited from plenty of hand-me-down and discount gear from him. It would have been difficult to accomplish a lot of shows and projects without that practical support. Our partnership was a big inspiration on this album, and the synth that is most prominently featured on it is his.”
Listen to Lyndsie’s album ‘...like butterfly wings’, out now on Reflections.