Bisbâyé—pronounced ‘bees-bow-yay’—translates as “what happens when there is nothing else one can do, when uncertainty and obstacles require excelling oneself”. Initially from Quebec’s remote region of Saguenay (home of prog metallurgists Voïvod), the Montreal-based band was founded in 2001 by guitarist Jean-Pierre Larouche with drummer Hugo Veilleux. Currently based in Montreal, Bisbâyé is rounded up by bassist Vincent Savary, guitarist Nathanaël Labrèche, and a second drummer, Julien Daoust. Bisbâyé includes two drum kits, with the two percussionists answering each other’s beats in real time, creating a compelling stereo effect.
Larouche, the band’s leader and main composer, cites Don Caballero and Meshuggah as influences, but experiencing Bisbayé’s music is something else entirely. Yes, the intricacy and drum-heavy approach of Bisbâyé’s compositions can remind the former, while the sheer aggression of some of their most intense moments is akin to the Swedish extreme metal act’s surgical sound. King Crimson’s influence is also undeniable, so is the sophistication of the math-rock genre’s best acts (e.g., Battles, Dillinger Escape Plan), while you can find some of Larouche’s favorite composers (Steve Reich, Gyorgy Ligeti) in there as well. We might also say there is a bit of Primus guitarist Larry Lalonde’s discordant riffing in Bisbâyé’s wall of sound.
Larouche explains: “By superposing melodic layers and different forms of rhythms (polyrhythms, isorhythms, phase shifting and contrapuntal ones), I create sonic textures of emerging properties. Their sometimes disorienting and complex effects are contrasted with instrumentation and simple composition structures borrowed to popular music. Mostly, I tend to toy with the listener’s perception, inviting them to let go of their preconceptions to dive completely into the sound itself to explore new frontiers of possibilities.“
After releasing two EPs (Bisbâyé, 2001; II, 2003) and as many albums (Gestalt, 2013; Synkronik, 2016) independently, the Canadian five-piece recorded its new offering at the Makina and Kappa studios, right before the lockdown. Instead of the usual collection of separate tracks, Le Sens de la Fin (The Sense of an Ending) was the first album Larouche conceived and composed as a whole, with the collaboration of Savary (on “Caustique”). Cuneiform Records publish through their Soundcloud Channel the official audio for the single “Creosote,” stream it below:
“I wrote the pieces instinctively, and the entire process took less time than on previous records,” mentions the guitarist. “The inspiration behind the title lies in today’s withdrawal into individualism. This, emanating from the feeling of hopelessness, where there is nothing more we can do collectively to improve the world. Our collective unconscious embedded this sense of an ending, pushing us into this reclusive fallback.“
Undeniably, this album – Bisbâyé’s first release on Cuneiform Records – is their most accomplished effort so far. It sums up everything that initially made what Bisbâyé is. This time around, the band put a lot of emphasis on their sound’s polyrhythmic aspect, while tightening up the compositions’ structures. Underneath densely layered, yet dissonant arrangements, there are some subtle, looped up grooves that will grow on you after a few listens. The Sense of an Ending is guaranteed to teleport any open-minded avant-garde music enthusiast into Bisbâyé’s voiceless multiverse. A place where heavy music’s most hypnotic riffs perfectly cohabit with asymmetric jazz, condensed prog, luminous melodies and the most hostile soundscapes.
Purchase the album through the Cuneiform Records Bandcamp: https://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/le-sens-de-la-fin-the-sense-of-an-ending