Miriodor was formed in 1980 (in Québec City) by the meeting of François Émond and Pascal Globensky. Different musicians came and went until the band settled, in 1983, as a sextet comprised of François Émond (violin, flute, keyboards, clarinet), Pascal Globensky (keyboards, acoustic guitar), Rémi Leclerc (percussions), Sabin Hudon (saxophones), Denis Robitaille (electric guitar, bass, singing) and Marc Petitclerc (keyboards). This was the lineup on Miriodor’s 1st album, Rencontres, originally released as a self-produced LP.  After being long out-of-print, Rencontres has been released in CD format by Cuneiform Records, Miriodor’s record company since 1988.

Towards the end of 1984, François, Pascal, Rémi and Sabin moved to Montreal, establishing themselves as a quartet. The band made some recordings, one of which, “Middle Ages”, appeared in ReR Quarterly, an audio magazine published by the UK’s Chris Cutler, head of Recommended Records. All of these early Montreal recordings would later appear as bonus material on Cuneiform’s reissue of Miriodor, the band’s self-titled 2nd album.

Early in 1987, François Émond left the band, and Miriodor became a trio. Sabin, Pascal and Rémi began experimenting with the then new computer technologies, notably the MIDI system, which enabled the trio to have a full orchestral sound. They recorded Miriodor at the beginning of 1988 and signed to US label Cuneiform, who released it worldwide. Supporting their new album, Miriodor played at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (fall 1988) and, with the help of l’Agence Québec/Wallonie-Bruxelles pour la jeunesse, toured France and Belgium in March 1989.

In 1991, Cuneiform released Miriodor’s Third Warning. The band--still a trio--participated at the Festival des musiques de création du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and also at the International Computer Music Congress. At the end of 1993, a fourth member came in : Bernard Falaise (electric guitar and bass). The quartet recorded a track for the Cuneiform Records compilation Unsettled Scores; called "Promenade sous zéro", it was medley of pieces from their Cuneiform label mates, the Belgian bands Univers Zéro and Présent.

In 1996, Miriodor released a new album on Cuneiform: Elastic Juggling, which featured the trio augmented by a myriad of guest musicians. Sabin Hudon left the band during the making of this album. Miriodor were scheduled to perform several high-profile concerts, and Nicolas Masino (bass, keyboards) came on board to perform with them in three countries, at ProgScape ‘96 in Baltimore (USA) on June 29th; the Montreal Jazz Festival on July 5th; and at La Maison du Québec in St-Malo (France) the last week of August ‘96. Masino quickly became an essential component of the band, and soon joined Miriodor as a full member.

In 1998, the band became a quintet, with the addition of Nicolas Masino and Marie-Chantal Leclair (saxophones), and began working on a new repertoire. In 1999, Miriodor composed and recorded a music score for "Almanach", a documentary movie about the passage into the next millenium. This movie was directed by Denys Desjardins and produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

In October 2000, Miriodor played several shows in the US, at the Hot House in Chicago and at Edgefest, an avant-garde festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their fifth album, Mekano, was released by Cuneiform in September 2001. With the addition of Marie-Soleil Bélanger (violin), the band became a sextet again. Following Mekano’s release, Miriodor was invited to perform in 2002 at NEARfest, the world’s largest and most prestigious festival of progressive rock music, then held in Trenton, NJ. The audience response to their performance at NEARfest was so enthusiastic, that Miriodor was invited to return the following year to perform at the pre-festival show.

During the autumn of 2004, Miriodor was invited back to perform at Anne Arbor’s Edgefest, and shared a bill in Montreal with Frogg Café. The band completed production on its next album, Parade + Live at NEARfest 2002, released as a double disc by Cuneiform in May 2005. Disc 1 featured Parade, the band’s sixth studio album, which included several collaborations with legendary Swedish keyboardist/composer Lars Hollmer (Samlas Mammas Manna); Disc 2, Miriodor’s first live release, featured their performance Live at NEARfest 2002. In April 2005, Miriodor premiered the material on Parade as the Day-1 headliner at Portugal’s Gouveia Art Rock Festival. For that occasion, Chantal Bergeron was on violin; Miriodor’s other special guests included Lars Hollmer and Michel Berckmans. Miridor played several high-profile shows in Canada during the fall of 2005, including performing at the esteemed Guelph Jazz Festival, and opening for Présent at the Belgian band’s first-ever appearance in Montreal.

The two following years (2006 – 2007), Miriodor played the Festival de Musique Progressive de Montréal while working on their seventh album. Called Avanti!, that album came out on Cuneiform in May 2009.  In July 2009, the band was chosen as the opening act for Van der Graaf Generator, at the Festival d’été de Québec in Quebec City. That same year, the Canadian ProgQuébec label released Miriodor’s second live album, Miriodor – Live in 89”.

Miridor played several international festivals in 2010, beginning in May with the Festival des Musiques de création in Jonquière (province of Quebec). In September, Miriodor performed at the Rock In Opposition-France festival, in Carmaux, France, and opened for Belgian label-mates Univers Zéro at the French Embassy in Washington D.C., at the Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music.

After a hiatus in 2011, Miriodor – as a trio of Falaise, Globensky and Leclerc, following Nicolas Masino’s departure – worked on 2013's Cobra Fakir, the band’s 8th studio album. Subsequently, Nicolas Lessard (bass guitar/keyboards) joined Miriodor, and premiered the material live with the band on Sat. Aug. 31st at ProgDay 2013 in North Carolina, the longest continually running progressive rock festival in the U.S.A. With Lessard fully integrated into the band, Miriodor played Seattle's Seaprog festival in 2014 and spent time slowly working on their next Cuneiform release, 2017's Signal 9. During the making of the album, Miriodor co-founder François Émond passed away, causing the band to reflect on all the mileage behind them, and to dedicate Signal 9 to his memory.

In support of Signal 9's release, Miriodor has plans for a European tour in the fall. They will be part of next edition of the Rock in Opposition Festival, in Carmaux, France, will play a double bill with Yugen in Milan, Italy, and one week later, they will participate for the first time in the FreakShow Art Rock festival in Wurzburg, Germany. There are plans for additional shows to be booked, as well as appearances in their home town of Montreal after the band's return to Canada.

Miriodor's official websiteMiriodor's Facebook pageMiriodor on Twitter


RUNE 498

Under carefully controlled conditions—my place, after supper, and with wine in hand—four out of five listeners identified Miriodor as European. And four out of five listeners were wrong.

There’s no shame in this, though. There are no other bands in North America that sound even remotely like Miriodor, whose new Elements is their 10th studio release since their founding in 1984, as well as their 10th for Maryland’s Cuneiform label. This likely has to do with where keyboardist Pascal Globensky, guitarist and bassist Bernard Falaise, and drummer Rémi Leclerc are based: the Canadian province of Quebec.

In other words, they’re a long way away from the rest of the continent. Granted, Canada’s second-most populous province is only 500 miles removed from the country’s biggest city, Toronto, and it’s even closer to the financial capital of the United States, New York City. On the cultural map, however, the region tilts towards Europe. French is the dominant language; relatively well-funded state schools prioritize the arts; and support for the creative industries is a point of national pride. (And make no mistake: Quebec is very much a nation within a nation.)

The province—and especially its largest city, Montreal—is home to several distinct strands of adventurous musical activity. There’s musique actuelle, rooted in free jazz but with a strong Quebecois accent; a number of internationally well-regarded modernist chamber ensembles; a burgeoning electroacoustic scene that has been well-documented by the empreintes DIGITALes label; and there are noisier rumblings from an avant-rock underground inspired and typified by Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

On Elements, Miriodor touches on all of these. As an improvisor, Falaise is an important contributor to musique actuelle. Noise and distortion come to the fore midway through the fast-paced “Alambic”, while Magic Band–inspired sprung rhythms drive album-opener “Boomerang”. Meanwhile, the shape-shifting tour-de-force “Poulet-Bicyclette” opens with an aleatory interlude for synthesizer and minimal percussion that’s right out of the electroacoustic playbook, before wobbling into a deconstructed funky-chicken dance and, eventually, a sinister and sinuous dreamscape.

Rapid changes of tone and pacing are a Miriodor trademark. “There are many different landscapes in the same piece,” Globensky agrees. “Sometimes we’ll go see a concert and some band will be keeping the same beat for 10 or 12 or 15 minutes, and we’ll be looking at each other and saying ‘Why do we complicate our lives like that, changing all the time?’ But that’s the way we’re doing our music.”

Some critics have attributed this to Quebec’s well-documented love of Frank Zappa’s highly episodic music; the California radical had an especially large impact on musique actuelle. Yet Miriodor’s most obvious markers are European, for better or worse—and Globensky, for one, laments that the band is most often linked to the Rock in Opposition movement of the late 1970s.

There are parallels, for sure. Globensky admits a fondness for Belgium’s second-generation RIO act Aqsak Maboul, while the late Lars Hollmer, of Sweden’s Samla Mammas Manna, collaborated with the group on its 2005 release for Cuneiform, Parade. Closer to Globensky’s heart, however, is emblematic Canterbury quartet Hatfield and the North.

“We’re a bit like them in the sense that we’re unpretentious,” he explains. “We’re silly at times; even if there’s no words there’s kind of a humour in the music. And if we have to be compared to the Rock in Opposition founding bands, I think we’re more related to Samla than to Henry Cow or Univers Zero, which were more dark or more serious, if I may say.

“But the labelling thing is always dubious,” Globensky adds. “It’s good and bad at once.”

More important is that even though Miriodor is strictly an instrumental ensemble, its tunes always tell a story. “The music has to convey some images, or some cinematic aspect,” Globensly clarifies. “If we don’t see something in our mind, something moving in our head, we will discard it. We like that cinematic aspect.”

Often, he adds, the music is inspired by fantasies and in-jokes. “With the older albums, we were always fearful that when we were done with recording—on reel-to-reel tape—a monster would come at night and eat our tapes. We called it the Master Tape Eater, and there is a piece on the Mekano album that is related to that. They’re all silly stories like that.”

Although the three band members no longer live in close proximity—Globensky has remained in the Montreal suburb of Laval, but Falaise has moved to the countryside and Leclerc lives in Kamouraska, on the St. Lawrence River north of Quebec City—they’ve retained this sense of intimacy.

“We always see each other as a big machine with many cogs, if you see what I mean, with each of us being a different cog,” Globensky says.”Or we see ourselves as ants, working on an anthill. There’s a sense of being just a part of something bigger, and if you listen to our music you can see that there’s many layers and a lot of intertwining lines, nesting lines, and repeated lines. And there’s no clear definition of what Elements is all about, but I think it relates to that.

“Like many bands, we’re three individuals, but there is a huge respect for what the other people are doing,” he adds. “I think it shows in the music.”

And while Globensky cautions that Elements might be Miriodor’s last release, he also maintains that it’s their best.

“As we get older we learn stuff in life and we learn stuff about music, and I think we’re getting better at it,” he says with a philosophical laugh. “And that’s something I said to Rémi recently: ‘Well, it’s a bit of a shame if this is the last one, because we’re starting to get good!’”
Elements press release

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RUNE 438

"Metaphorically, we could say that Miriodor is a planet, with aliens communicating in their mysterious ways with planet Earth," says Miriodor's keyboardist, Pascal Globensky. In that sense, the long-lived Montreal band's ninth album, entitled Signal 9, could simply be considered the ninth set of musical messages from that exotic heavenly body.

The Miriodor discography has been building strength upon strength with each successive album. The band combines jazz, classical, rock, and international influences for an arresting, idiosyncratic sound that eludes description but remains immediately identifiable as Mirodor.

Picking up where the most recent coded message from planet Miriodor, 2013's Cobra Fakir, left off, Signal 9 arrives like an invitation to an otherworldly voyage. Each track marks another twist and turn in a journey across strange, captivating landscapes populated by creatures, crafts, and constructions whose like has never been glimpsed outside the band's idiosyncratic ecosystem.

Globensky, drummer Rémi Leclerc, and guitarist Bernard Falaise have expanded Miriodor to a quartet with the addition of bassist Nicolas Lessard as a full-time member. Accordingly, the band works like a one eight-handed, four-brained organism here, operating more organically and collectively than ever.

And while Miriodor often forges some of their heaviest sounds to date over the course of Signal 9, the album is also loaded with off-the-wall humor and some beautiful, contemplative melodic moments. The combination makes for some crafty contrasts, frequently flipping back and forth drastically from one mood to another multiple times within a single composition for a jarring-but-thrilling effect.

Once you return to your everyday life after emerging from the alternative universe of Signal 9, the whole album seems like some kind of fever dream you've just emerged from. But the big difference is that it's a dream you're eager to leap right back into again.
Signal 9 press release

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RUNE 368

Cobra Fakir is the group's eighth studio album and, like all their releases, is a captivating new-music gem filled with great musicianship, terrific tunes and a distinctive and personal sound.

A cobra fakir is a snake charmer, who uses carefully concocted melodies to put the mighty reptile under a sort of sonic spell. That’s an apt analogy for what will happen to even the hardiest ears upon introduction to Miriodor’s newest eccentric-but-bewitching batch of tunes.

Miriodor are one of the core bands of what’s become known as the R.I.O. (Rock in Opposition) style, an international agglomeration of artists whose core tenet has remained a commitment to creating challenging music that freely incorporates everything from progressive rock and jazz to avant-garde experimentation and even elements of various folk traditions.

The group's long evolutionary process has led to the trio we hear on Cobra Fakir: founding musicians Pascal Globensky (keyboards, synths, piano) and Rémi Leclerc (drums, percussion, keyboards, turntable) with longtime member Bernard Falaise (guitars, bass, keyboards, banjo, turntable). The multi-layered complexity of the pieces they’ve crafted for Cobra Fakir belies the relatively spontaneous method in which much of the music was made.

"Being back to a trio format (once again), about one year before our target date for a release with very little material on hand, we rolled up our sleeves and got immersed in the work. We built on what we had, which was a few sketchy pieces (demos) and we also recorded several improvs, planning to extract stuff from them and then creating new pieces from that.
For about 8 months, this has been a very fun and very intense period of exchanging files and challenging each other with either strange and unexpected stuff, super arrangements, a great solo, or simply a very promising new tune.

For this record, Rémi has been fiddling a lot with various percussive objects and machines (acoustic or electronic), a strong interest of him lately. This gave the album a wide array of colorful tonalities in the percussive department. Bernard had lots on his hands, from morphing into a bass player, creating his numerous guitar parts, and adding a myriad of arrangements and textures, with keyboards, turntable and editing. All this, plus the job of mixing the album and participating in the mastering of the album made for a pretty busy fellow. Pascal had fun toying with improv extracts, adding textures and atmosphere a bit everywhere on the pieces, throwing a pinch of concrete sounds for good measure, ending up with some uncharacteristic passages for Miriodor.

It has been a hectic, very intense and brain-squeezing period for the three of us. We delivered in time, and the baby’s going fine, thank you!"
Cobra Fakir press release

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RUNE 288

Sometimes it's hard to write about an album simply because it's difficult to find new ways of saying 'amazing'. Miriodor's albums present that challenge. With a string of utterly fabulous releases already leading up to Avanti, how does one find a new way to get across the fact that Miriodor are one of the very finest new music/rock ensembles in existence? Maybe by truthfully stating that, in my opinion, Avanti is most likely their best work yet! The band have always produced music that is intricate, tuneful, challenging and filled with both fire and humor. The mixing and production were handled by member Bernard Falaise, the first time the band have done all of this work 'in house' and he has added some adventurous and interesting touches which never overwhelm the integrity of the underlying musical work, but add an additional dimension which is new for the band.

"Fortuitously placed under the sign of number seven, Miriodor’s seventh album contains seven songs which all last seven minutes or more, for a total of 60 minutes of dense and twisted music, à la Miriodor. The band, now in its 30th year of existence, has attained a level of cohesion and complicity that sometimes baffles even its more recent members, those who have only been around for 15 years or so... At the core of this production are the usual partners in crime : Bernard Falaise (guitars, stringed instruments, etc.), Pascal Globensky (keyboards, synthesizer, piano), Rémi Leclerc (drums, percussion, sampler) and Nicolas Masino (bass, keyboards). On this album, we tried to develop our playing as a quartet, so about half the album has no outside guests, no sequences and just a few overdubs. On the other pieces we are joined by Pierre "The Preacher" Labbé on tenor and barytone saxes, regular acolyte Marie-Chantal Leclair on soprano saxophone, and Maxime St-Pierre on trumpet."

"Those will younger ears will hear math-rock and post-rock in Miriodor's off-kilter time signatures and whimsically episodic arrangements; those with older ears may wonder if they're listening to a Henry Cow reunion album, made with updated equipment and more horns. Anyone with adventurous ears is sure to get a kick out of this venerable Quebecois quartet's music, which draws on nearly three decades of experience exploring the fringes of avant-pop instrumental music. Very cool." – CDHotlist

"In these challenging times, it's nice to count on something that seems to be getting better instead of worse. Miriodor have been around now for about 30 years, quite an accomplishment in itself, but perhaps more amazingly, every CD they release improves in some way upon the last. A case in point is Avanti! (Onward!), the band's seventh Cuneiform CD, released in May 2009.... On Avanti! Miriodor have climbed their highest peak yet and now stand patiently waiting for you to discover them." – David Lynch/All Music Guide

"Always inventive, always surprising and always just a little off-kilter." – ghostland.com

Avanti! press release

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RUNE 208/209

"While French Canada has acquired a reptutation as the spawning ground for out-rock groups such as Godspeed You, Black Emperor!, the region also has an impressive progressive rock tradition. Miriodor...operate in a dstinctly European Rock In Opposition vein, and their wide-ranging soundtracks for the mind feature frequent key changes and constantly mutating melodies, rhythms and moods. What makes the band so impressive is the graceful, almost effortless way they execute all their complex moves, with scarcely a trace of irony or self-cleverness." - Alternative Press

Miriodor have been making adventurous, memorable and truly entertaining instrumental rock music for 25 years, performing on guitars, keyboards, violin, saxophones, bass and drums. As Goldmine said, "Occupying a realm somewhat between the chamber rock of Univers Zero and the spry fusion of vintage Jean-Luc Ponty, with hints of Van Der Graaf Generator and Soft Machine along the way, Miriodor mostly just sounds like Miriodor...unique and forward looking." Featuring guest performances by accordionist/keyboardist Lars Hollmer (of Samla Mammas Manna), Parade is the band's sixth album and is their most impressive and inspired album yet!

In addition to Miriodor's new studio work, this album includes a second disc which features the band's complete, now legendary performance at NEARFest 2002, which was seen by a sold-out audience of 1,850 and which caused Sea Of Tranquility to comment, "Miriodor proved that complex music can still have melody and finesse. Miriodor was without a doubt one of the highlights of the festival..." This CD is the band's first ever live release.

Parade + Live at NEARfest press release

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RUNE 148

Mekano is perhaps their most impressive & entertaining work of all. Operating around the core of long-time members Pascal Globensky, Rémi Leclerc & Bernard Falaise, plus newcomers Nicolas Masino (bass & keyboards) and Marie-Chantal Leclair (saxes) & Marie-Soleil Bélanger (violin), it continues the trend that the band has adhered to since their beginning; a sound that is always developing in new and interesting ways, but that is still completely recognizable as "Miriodor".

"Mekano is the band's fifth recording in 15 years, and what makes the current band so impressive is the graceful, almost effortless way the execute all their complex musical moves, with scarcely a trace of irony or sel-conscious cleverness." – Alternative Press/Bill Tilland

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RUNE 108

Miriodor's first album, Rencontres, was originally released in an edition of 500 on vinyl only. It has been out of print for a decade, & contains the only recordings of the band in their original sextet formation. Including almost 30' of bonus material, the music here is joyful & spiritied.The music is more squarely in the progressive rock vein than their later more RIO-oriented works, with nods to the classic Quebeçois prog sound, and lovely melodies performed on violin, electric guitar, flute, sax or keyboards. Many symphonic/progressive fans think this is their best release ever, & in any event, there's a lot to enjoy here.

"...a perfect marriage between the more chamber oriented sounds of Univers Zero...and the more symphonic, woodwind-oriented sound of bands like Happy The Man and VDGG." – Exposé

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Elastic Juggling shows them honing their edge even further, using an expanded range of instruments [piano, synths, guitar, bass and drums plus saxophone and other musical guests]. One of the very few bands today whose works combines all of the hallmarks of the "R.I.O." school; adventurous and inspired compositions, rigorous musicianship, a distinct sound that is clearly their own, and a steely determination to do what they do their own way. Adventurous and precise musical statements, played with great fire, wit, drive, and spirit.

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On 3rd Warning, this Canadian instrumental trio (keyboards, sax, drums with all also using synthesizers) have managed to do what so many have tried and failed at; grafting the sound and feel of "classic" progressive onto new technology and "new music" forms. With this, their 3rd release, they developed their own high-tech sound that is truely theirs, & borrows from no one. They avoid both the traps of becoming slick/neo-progressive or sounding retro.

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On Miriodor, this Canadian instrumental trio (keyboards, sax, drums with all also using synthesizers) have managed to do what so many have tried and failed at; grafting the sound and feel of "classic" progressive onto new technology and "new music" forms. With this, their 2nd release, they developed their own high-tech sound that is truely theirs, & borrows from no one. They avoid both the traps of becoming slick/neo-progressive or sounding retro.

"Miriodor is certain to please even the most critical listener...an amazingly dense and richly textured soundfield."- Sounds Like

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For press and media: cover art and high resolution images are available below for download (click thumbnail, right-click image and select "Save As.."). Please credit the photographer (when available) and "Courtesy of Cuneiform Records". For more information, click here.

Signal 9
Cobra Fakir
Parade + Live at NEARfest

Elements press release
Signal 9 press release
Cobra Fakir press release
Cobra Fakir press quotes
Avanti! press release
Avanti! press quotes
Parade + Live at NEARfest press release
Parade + Live at NEARfest press quotes
Miriodor press pre-2005

12/21/13: Cuneiform Year in Review: 2013
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Cuneiform Records 2014

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