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|Distributor(s)||Distributions Ambiances Magnétiques Etc.|
|Genre||Avant-garde jazz, free improvisation|
|Country of origin||Canada|
The label was formed in 1984 by a group of independent musicians and producers from Montreal. The entity was formed out of necessity: the members' avante-garde tastes, which include avant-garde jazz, contemporary classical music, folk, and rock, proved to be too challenging for prospective distributors and commercial record labels. The result has been the creation of Canada's largest and most active label devoted to improvised music that includes jazz, avant-garde, rock, and unusual hybrids.
Performances from the collective during its heyday were sparse, as showcased by the 1992 CD, Une Théorie des Ensembles. But the improvising collective nevertheless succeeded in creating a wide network to support an indie music scene. The collective includes Jean Derome, René Lussier, Joane Hétu, and others located across Canada and the world. The activities of the musicians encompass a range of ensembles, live performances, and recording activities, including the record label Ambiances Magnétiques and Distributions Ambiances Magnétiques Etc. (DAME), a distribution outlet, and production companies such as Productions SuperMémé, which orchestrates concert series and events in Montreal. By late 2000, the label had produced 90 titles, a number that expanded to 200 as of March 2010 with the release of Shaman, a duo recording featuring Jean Derome and Joane Hétu. Presently DAME has a catalogue of over 450 titles.
Ambiances Magnétiques began in 1982 when René Lussier, a guitarist, and Jean Derome, who plays saxophone and flute, performed live as a duo in Montreal under the name Ambiances Magnétiques (which translates to "Magnetic Atmospheres" or "Environments"). In 1983 this group teamed up with guitarist André Duchesne and clarinetist Robert Marcel Lepage and started the labels, which was originally managed by the members of the collective to release their records, with occasional guests. In the late 1990s, the label included musicians from around the world. In 1986, the group added Joane Hétu, Diane Labrosse, and Danielle P. Roger, three Québécois musicians performing together in avant-pop girl groups (Wondeur Brass, Justine). Hétu would soon be in charge of the label. Radio DJ and drummer Michel F. Côté was signed in 1988, and turntablist Martin Tétreault (discovered accidentally as he was overheard by his unsuspecting neighbor, André Duchesne, in the late '80s) joined in the mid-'90s.
By 2010, Ambiances Magnétiques had established itself as a contributor to improvised music, with a philosophy of making music primarily identified as musique actuelle, a term that derives from the three genres with which it is associated: free improvisation, jazz, and avant-garde rock.