Samuel Landry aka Le Berger hails from the outskirts of Montreal. No surprise to those familiar with his music, the aesthetic of Le Berger is driven by a DIY ethic that valorizes resourcefulness and restraint. The creative process, and the humanity implied in each decision, takes priority over fancy tools or techniques. Anyone who’s followed my Sound Propositions series can see what attracted me to Sam’s work.
Though we live in the same city I’ve come to know him mostly through his online presence. Sites like this and the artists we cover have fostered a strong online community, and certain individuals, like Sam, seem to know everybody. Our now weekly mix series will be including mixes from taste-makers like Sam to give us a glimpse into their current listening habits. (Joseph Sannicandro)
So, who are you?
I am Sam. Some may also know me and/or the works I release under the moniker Le Berger. I generally avoid talking about myself but as long as we focus on the work we should be ok. For the purposes of an interview we can mention that I happen to create soundscapes that gravitate around the ambient / drone / sound art / minimalist field. I have little clue what those words actually mean but they are usually the ones that stick when people talk about my music.
How did you get into this scene?
Perhaps something like Flemings and penicillin, albeit with much lesser effect upon humanity. A while back my recording gear was broken and since I could not record new material I ended up fiddling around with a sound editor program, a very rudimentary piece of software that came with the sound card originally. I also was stuck with little source material to play with. What I ended up finding out is that I appreciate working with primitive or inappropriate tools, restricting the resources available to a bare minimum and throwing things together in a fashion where I have little way to predict the results.
There is still a lot of trial & error with those methods and most of the material created ends up discarded, however for these few occasions where I stumble upon something unexpected that leaves me dumbfounded it still seems a worthwhile effort. And the gear is still broken by the way…
So it definitely was not an intentional step into a specific scene, the music was created without much of a frame of reference or direct influence initially. From that moment, I simply made the music available for any and all to hear and the dialog is ongoing with those who opt to pay attention. That very dialog is what I would call the ‘scene’ I’m into.
Do you relate to that scene more on a local front (rooted in the community of Montreal) or with the world-at-large (deterritorialized via the internet)?
Probably the latter as a general rule of thumb, seeing as I do not perform the Le Berger music in live settings. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy and partake in the cultural offerings of Montreal, far from it. We have as vibrant a city musically as I imagine it can be, from the grassroots origin of the Suoni per il Popolo to the more academic Akousma festival, there is a wide range of things to pick from and I always enjoy meeting other artists who come to town for a pint and a chat. However the internet is quite the fantastic tool when reaching out and trying to find likeminded folks the world over.
Though I must say that having focused so much on virtual community ever since this musical project saw the light of day makes me crave something more tangible from time to time and there are definitive plans to connect the dots between local community and the world at large in the near future. Stay way off tune!
How did you come up with this mix for A Closer Listen? Any theme?
Came up with the stuff quite organically and without specific thematic imperatives to begin with. Just putting together a bunch of things I like really, some recent some not so much. Upon listening to the material again, I guess there is something linking all these pieces together, though I’d be very hard pressed putting a name on it. Making mixes is something really fun and relaxing somehow, much less frustrating than creating new material in a sense. You put things together and their juxtaposition makes an impression, if you like it it’s a go, if you don’t you look for something that works better.
I imagine this mix represents fairly well a range of things I like, from acoustic simplicity to electronic intricacies, from transcendent to isolated, improvised to composed, older, newer, etc. I hope people like that stuff as much as I do!
What’s in the works?
Many things! always… Right now the most immediate projects I must keep on the downlow, but let’s say following the success of the #3m33s compilation and fundraiser, we have put together a wonderful artist collective and are working very hard on our initial release. Apart from that, expect a campaign to bring Cinchel (Jason Shanley, Chicago sound artist) to Montreal so we can collaborate on something, that will be up very soon. And then more music, working on ways to make some of it more suitable for live settings as well. Busy times, good times.
Any parting thoughts?
Take care and pay attention.
Andrew Weathers – Daylight’s Precious When You’re Young (For AG) (Album : For AG | Label : Self Released )
Darren Harper – First Passage (Album : Passages For The Listless and Tired | Label : Dronarivm)
From the Mouth of the Sun – Color Loss (Album : Woven Tide | Label : Experimedia)
Grzegorz Bojanek – 2013-01-31 (Album : 3m33s | Label : In the works)
Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin – Uptown Psychedelia (Album : Instrumental Tourist| Label : Software Recording Co. )
Klaus Schulze – Live in Koln 1977 (Album : N/A | Label : N/A)
Terry Rilley – Persian Surgery Dervishes (Album : | Label(s) : Shandar | Mantra Records | Dunya Records)
Keith Fullerton Whitman – Generator 7b (bis) (Album : Generator | Label : Root Strata)
Holger Czukay – Boat Woman Song (Album : Canaxis | Label : Music Factory)
Scarlatti – Sonata in F Minor K466 (Interpret : Vladimir Horowitz)
Änglagård – Vandringar i vilsenhet (Album : Hybris | Label : Mellotronen)
Sunn O))) – It took the night to believe (Album : Black One | Label : Southern Lord )
Rhys Chatham – Scrying in Smoke (Album : The Bern Project | Label : Hinterzimmer Records)
Greg Davis – Curling Pond Woods (Album : Curling Pond Woods | Label : Carpark Records)