Luke Martin, Splendid E-Zine, February 6, 2002

[The CD] Bruits is a much more personal affair than the usual sound-collage. The titular, tripartite composition, Bruits, is a portrait of Montréal that’s endearing, though without losing a sense of urban malice. Children’s Corner is a fast-forward examination of daytime sounds, while Nuit is less frenetic; more time is spent on peaceful image-building, though it’s with more of an ear towards the unsettling — strange noises interrupt the feeling of sleep that’s created, producing the sensation that you’re hiding under the bedclothes. The piece’s closer, Fête, is a return to the dynamic daylight — troops of musicians pound the ears, bringing a sense of energy and jubilant humanity that’s hard to match. The three components of the title composition are all experiments in sound compression — it feels like Daoust is trying to make the listener hear every sound that occurs in a city at the same time — that seem to actually work, and not just fall in a heap; it’s no wonder Bruits took more than four years to compose.

The rest of the album is taken up by individual compositions, each clocking in at around fifteen minutes — though it’s the first of these, Impromptu, that really shows Daoust’s brilliance. This composition melds a Chopin piece with the sound of detuning pianos, reversing trucks and squeaking uneasiness. Rushes of sound interrupt the already tense atmosphere, amping up the tension level to near-unbearable. Finally, the piece ends with the sounds of a thunderstorm, and a reduction of added sound — though behind the Chopin, in the distance, buzzsaws and sirens slowly circle. There are waves of sound, quietly menacing, and the sound of tapping, behind your head. It’s a brilliant conclusion to one of the best pieces of music of this type that I’ve ever heard. Phenomenal.

La Gamme sounds like an alien race observing children, sending out scanner beams to probe their bodies. The sounds of the playground drift, and give way to what ultimately sounds like a deep-bass game of Pong — in a good way. Chunky analog sounds jostle for space with synthesized siren-songs, until they ultimately sound like they’re emanating from an old radio in a rehearsing music student’s room. From alien technology to practiced scales in fifteen minutes: that’s quite an achievement.

The only piece on the disc that was a little lost on me was the closing composition, Ouverture. Composed to celebrate the French Revolution, it’s a largely-French-language lesson in the history of Québec, realized through snippets of riots, speeches, and vox-pops. While my lack of understanding — due to the language barrier — is my own fault, this piece still exhibits a powerful grip on even the most uncomprehending listener — though admittedly it’s the vocal manipulations, rather than their meaning, that will pull attention in those cases.

In short, Daoust has delivered a winner that lives and breathes. Hear this now.

Phenomenal… a winner that lives and breathes. Hear this now.