(All Album Reviews by BrianG)
The MMCircle project is a jazz ensemble, a string quintet, a chamber jazz group all lead by the drummer and composer Martin Maheux. After spending the first 19 years of life in Saint-Jules de Beauce, France, he continued his education at the UniversitÚ de Montreal in Quebec, studying under Paul Brochu of UZEB fame. After college his career landed him with the group Spaced Out in 1998 with whom he performed at NEARfest in 2002. Maheux recorded two albums with Spaced Out, then came out with his first solo effort Physics of Light which focused on his jazz ensemble composing skills. In the Spring of 2006, his second solo album Sibylle was released featuring a jazz quartet and a string quartet with two cellos as well as an upright bass player and trumpeter.
On Requiem Pour Un Vivant, Maheux re-enters the world of string quartets and chamber music. Most of the music is an understated avant chamber group style, with drum kit and some woodwind and drum solos. Players on piano, violon, alto sax and cello form intricate passages with alternating quick and slow sections.
Totally acoustic, this album is a welcome change from the barrage of metal and heavy progressive music available today. The listener can get lost in the fine details of the music, and, though at times dissonant, the music always seems to come back to a tonal core. However, the playing occasionally seems under rehearsed. This causes the rhythm sometimes to suffer from a lack of cohesiveness within the group. But with this kind of composed music, the band cannot be faulted for allowing technical ability to shine over the flow of the pieces.
Besides the ordinary reference to Univers Zero (MMCircle are more accessible but less polished and adventurous), similar artists include the chamber music ensembles Ethel and Alarm May Sound, and often the excellent piano-lead chamber group Gatto Marte.