Over the past 11 years, Montréal’s empreintes DIGITALes label has established itself as an important source for electroacoustic music from around the world. The recent release of Yves Daoust’s Bruits adds to their excellent catalogue, contributing a disc of infrequently ramshackle and noisily intimate source materials sculpted with finesse.
Daoust sets the tone with Children’s Corner, using the sonic landscapes of street festivals, markets, outdoor sports, and backup beeps from delivery trucks as his starting point. Amidst varied metamorphoses, the sound materials remain vestigially recognizable, yet sufficiently developed so as not to lapse into a documentarian aesthetic. While Nuits lacks the personality of its predecessor, Fête stage-dives straight back into its crowds and celebratory nature, re-establishing the light-hearted quality that defines and separates Daoust’s work. Fête reminds of the Parisian summer solstice celebration “fête de la musique,” where musicians from any background play on the street, with all of the recorded fiddles, accordions and djembe heard in a two-block venture through Place de la Republique, yet none of the pickpockets or thieves.
With the help of mutated material from Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu in C# minor, Daoust’s Impromptu engages and expounds upon its inspiration without clutching the Chopin too tightly. The final piece, Ouverture, develops the swaying crowds of previous works for more directly political purposes, exploring the subject of Québécois history. Overall, despite being somewhat uneven, Daoust’s Bruits succeeds with a boisterous playfulness and the warm impressions of community heard in the playgrounds and watering holes of old Montréal.