This is entry #49 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.
Philosopher: Endre Begby, Simon Fraser University
Artwork: René Lussier, Le trésor de la langue. Ambiances Magnétiques (CD/LP/CASS, 1989).
Words: Both Frank Zappa and Hermeto Pascoal had previously toyed with the idea of crafting music from the unpredictable rhythms and sliding pitches of spontaneous human speech. René Lussier took the concept further, painstakingly transcribing a staggering amount of location recordings and archived speeches, all centering on the “French question” in Québécois politics, and embedding it in an absolutely ripping 65 minute avant-rock suite. Trésor is among the greatest achievements of 20th century music.
The following clip contains Lussier’s treatment of Charles de Gaulle’s infamous 1967 “Vive le Québec libre” speech and the 1970 CBC broadcast of the FLQ manifesto.