Montréal-based artist and improviser Martin Tétreault is one of the first experimental turntablists. He made his debut as a professional artist in 1985, creating the score for the Opéra-Fête theatre company’s production La tentation de Saint-Antoine. This sound collage was well received, and he continued his experimentation with and on vinyl discs and magnetic tape. In 1988, he emerged from his studio to give his first solo performance, Des disques et un couteau.
On the advice of composer André Duchesne, he was soon drafted into the collective Ambiances Magnétiques, where he contaminated—and was contaminated by—the likes of Michel F. Côté, René Lussier, Jean Derome, Diane Labrosse and other brilliant Montreal- based improvisers. During the 1990s, his concert and studio performances were recorded by Hélène Prévost and Mario Gauthier, producers with Radio-Canada’s late, lamented Chaîne culturelle network. During the same period, Tétreault encountered distributors and musicians both at home and on his travels, developing fruitful collaborations with the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville (FIMAV), the London Musical Collective (LMC) (England), the Densités festival (France), Angelica (Italy), Club Transmediale (Germany), Otomo Yoshihide, Xavier Charles, Haco, Kevin Drumm, Ignaz Schick, Michel “Away” Langevin and numerous other stimulating producers and musical bricoleurs. In the first decade of the 21st century, alongside his frequent travels, he discreetly pursued projects as a visual artist, sanding, scraping, cutting out and erasing printed material. Tétreault refuses to believe in a hierarchy of objects, taking the same pleasure and employing the same rigorous methods whether altering an advertisement for bath towels or a treatise on the history of the visual arts. Between 1998 and 2012, he created the exhibitions 1998, R _ _ G O, Prises de son : couleurs et animées, and Phonographes vinylisés. In 2004, at the request of choreographer Lynda Gaudreau, he developed a system of musical notation and playable surfaces; this then led him to form the Quatuor de tourne-disques (turntable quartet), which has performed concerts and recorded Points, lignes avec haut-parleurs on the ORAL label. His affinities for dance have continued of late, with works created for Ce n’est pas la fin du monde (Sylvain Émard Danse) and Symphonie dramatique (Hélène Blackburn for Cas public).