Flore Laurentienne is an open window to the technicolor soundscapes of Mathieu David Gagnon – the Canadian composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who shapes vast orchestral sound to interpret the rugged wilderness and waters of his native Québec. The namesake of an inventory documenting St. Lawrence Valley flora, Flore Laurentienne illumes the science and spirit of his surrounds through expansive string orchestrations melded with the textures and experimentation of early analogue synths.
Following the compass and critical acclaim of his Volume I debut, Flore Laurentienne returns in October 2022 with Volume II to resume his voyage into environment and emotion. The album explores forces of water as metaphorical markers to navigate passages of life and loss, recorded with string and clarinet ensembles along with Gagnon’s signature modulation. Reflecting the parallel tenors of nature and humankind, Volume II locates another estuary in Flore Laurentienne’s tides toward contemporary sonic romanticism.
Originally released in 2019 and presented in new form with RVNG Intl. in 2022, Flore Laurentienne’s series of radiant synergies Volume I offered a new vantage point for Gagnon’s classical training. Having studied Writing at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Music in 2010, Gagnon relocated to France in 2011, traveling between the Conservatoire d’Aubervilliers in Paris and the Conservatoire de Bordeaux to learn the art of fugue – a contrapuntal writing style that guides the contours of both his entrancing debut and forthcoming release, and for which one of Gagnon’s greatest musical inspirations, Johann Sebastian Bach, is renowned.
In his approach to composition hued by leitmotif and constraint, Gagnon challenges himself to extract beauty from simplicity in homage to the changing faces of natural landscapes. The presence of familiarity and flux in Volume I is heightened through the vivid instrumentation of a fifteen-piece string orchestra, which Gagnon brings together with an array of 1960s and 70s synthesizers, including the Minimoog Model D, the EMS Synthi and combo organs – an innately ambitious project which forges the composer’s distinctive path in the expansion of classical music archetypes.
Flore Laurentienne was nominated in seven categories at the 2020 ADISQ in Québec, winning the ‘Arrangement of the Year’ and ‘Sound Recording and Mixing of the Year’. In 2020, Volume I was longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize and received four nominations at the Felix Awards for ‘Revelation of the Year’, ‘Songwriter of the Year’, ‘Critic’s Choice Album of the Year’ and ‘Instrumental Album of the Year’. In 2021, Flore Laurentienne was nominated for the Juno Awards ‘Instrumental Album of the Year’ in recognition for his contribution to Canadian music.