In 1970, the Montreal avant-garde ensemble L'Infonie recorded one of the most original versions of Terry Riley
's "In C" (released as the LP Vol. 33: Mantra). The two leaders of the long-disbanded group, poet/singer Raôul Duguay and composer/conductor of the Ensemble de la Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec Walter Boudreau
, teamed up 27 years later to record another version. Both are very different though. The 1970 L'Infonie recording was propelled by a rhythm section of drums, electric bass, and electric guitar (a bold move from Boudreau at the time), which resulted in a groovy rendition far from those recorded by more conventional orchestras. The 1997 (released in 2000) SMCQ version takes the rhythm section out, adds a choir (the 12-member Ensemble Vocal de Montréal
), a solo voice part (Duguay), a psychedelic Indian-like introduction (with tablas, sitar, and meditative singing) that delays the familiar eight-note pulsation for five minutes, and lyrics to the 53 motifs of the piece. The piece is more grandiose but also sounds less immediate. Part of the essence of "In C" is the feeling of osmosis one gets from each musician's decision to either repeat the same motif or move to the next. But here, the music sounds a bit too staged, too prepared; it remains a good performance though. The program is completed by a Donald Steven piece recorded in 1988 and excerpts from a 1985 recording of Michel-Georges Brégent's "Atlantide" (available in a more powerful and complete studio version on Atlantide).