La presse en parle
Tobias C van Veen, Dusted Magazine, 1 juin 2003No Type presented a label showcase that enraptured the crowd, sucking them into a vortex of noise and improv electronic performances.
Ingvar Loco Nordin, Sonoloco Record Reviews, 25 novembre 2002morceaux_de_machines is a virtual dream machine, injecting the listener with such a wild array of visions that peyote and mescaline becomes futile accessories.
Julien Jaffré, Jade, no 8, 6 novembre 2002… morceaux_de_machines tisse des atmosphères tendues, catharsis numérique de processeurs furibonds et de lignes de programmation effrénées.
Nicola Catalano, Blow Up, no 52, 1 septembre 2002… un infernale impasto impro-rumorista di ferocia inaudita.
George Zahora, Splendid E-Zine, 25 juillet 2002… they rip sounds apart at an almost genetic level, scrunching them and tearing them and twisting them and hacking at them with the ravenous relish of sonic serial killers.
François Couture, AllMusic, 25 juillet 2002liberum arbitrium is a class-A production… A serious contender for best noise album in 2002, highly recommended.
[…] Speaking of the No Type-ers… After what has been some public critique of Mutek, even on this list, No Type presented a label showcase at the Studio yesterday that enraptured the crowd, sucking them into a vortex of noise and improv electronic performances. […] No Type held attention despite the soundsystem’s relatively quiet range, with Samiland travelling a wealth of minimalist and dub territories, from sparse and deep broken beats to ambience, leading into the madness that was to follow: two sets of collaborative & improvised performances featuring A_Dontigny, first with the precise workings of veteran improvisational artist Diane Labrosse — on what appeared to be a theraemin device, at times; this performance was intricate, yet harsh in its metallic clamouring of sound-events. Then came morceaux_de_machines who, after an enthusiastic shout-out from Aimé, did not disappoint with his collaboration: vitriolic improvised noise from strange devices, high-pitched and jagged waves, from this real beast of a man, getting down and into it — morceaux grabbed the crowd and spun them round degree by degree. To end was Vancouver’s Coin Gutter, the enigmatic duo of Graeme and Emma carving out one of their more delicate and restrained sets, and, although improvised, moving through a taste of their sound, from experimental electroacoustic to noise, field recordings, media samples, and dark soundscapes. […]
These laptop goblins make sure nothing is really sure anymore, as they bring the fuzzy principles of quantum mechanics and string theory into the world of binary sonics, played backwards in time, it seems, to the beat of sprawling chronometer meltdowns, clocks and spiders crawling away across cracks in the cement, time bent in on itself, curving ever deeper into spirit and matter, ever closer to the core of the NOW, as the minute, minuscule slices of time with their minute – but densely packed – fragments of lives are mangled through a wormhole in space-time with a Gargantuan might that distorts everything recognizable and well-known into pointillist approximations of an echo of the solid, bohemian safety of A Prairie Home Companion… individual remains of human lingual morphemes floating up into conscience in flaky dandruff residue – and I’m talking about music, don’t you forget, music right above the surface of dirty blue jeans and shimmering Macintosh interfaces, out of frantic, warm circuits in a mystery machine right out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – but DON’T PANIC!!!
The Quebec City radio show Napalm Jazz on CKIA–FM back in the mid 1990s constitutes the beginnings of the duo work of Aimé Dontigny and Érick d’Orion. The concept of the show was a wild mix of avant-garde, hip-hop, free jazz, electronics, found sounds and musics, which lays down the direction of the subversive workings of these guys up until this today, obviously providing enough creative force to keep them staggering down this wildman path!
The packaging is something extra here. It is made like regular empreintes DIGITALes covers, with a contraption of fold-out, hard, high-quality paper, but the art is overflowing and really compelling here, with demonic drawings by cartoonist Guy Boutin and wonderful water colors by Sophie Dowse. The whole impression of this package is one of bursting, overflowing, overpowering creativity. Flow with it or bend out of the way and hide, until it sweeps by!
In track 2 I actually find a more overarching, modal structure, in a bubbling frenzy which the mind glues together into a bead, a line, a melody of sorts, if only from a distance, as fractions of voices add a human touch, and the static of telephone lines through minus 40 Lapland wastelands wheeze and crackle through the human predicament with needy messages for a hungry ear beyond the weather…
There is nowhere to hide from this army of lightning rods inside your head, emerging from the core of Self, cutting away at your stray thoughts like a battalion of paper shredders in an office high-rise. Piano bar melodies are smeared all over the walls, as something gets back at something for something. We slide up against the back wall, easing sideways past the most awesome of goings-on, as the fish jump in frenzied electrocution in their center room aquarium, seconds before impact, as the avenger comes flying in, bent on avenging the 2nd, 3rd and 4th world, as he recognizes “the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing in a holy place” [Daniel 12:11 & Matthew 24:15], and Armageddon is on…
Track 3 brings hallucinatory voices into a woman’s warmth and shelter (Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood, when blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud, I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form; ‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm’ [Bob Dylan]) as skin peels descend like soot-flakes from an arson epidemic all across the parking lot as you run and keep on running, away, away, away…
I get the idea that these sounds may be what alien civilizations on forlorn worlds out of thinkable reach may one day find as the electromagnetic remains of our moment in time on Earth, the distorted transmissions from a died-down culture, a faded-away species, soar past their receivers scanning their cold skies for traces of spiritual spurs down the galaxy clusters and beyond…
morceaux_de_machines is a virtual dream machine, injecting the listener with such a wild array of visions that peyote and mescaline becomes futile accessories. Aimé Dontigny and Érick d’Orion have found a modern, high-tech backdoor into age-old shaman rites and magic otherworldly experiences – which goes to show that each time in history has it’s on way of boring into the layers of consciousness, towards pre-intellectual domains of bliss and wonder. When genuine and authentic medicine men of contemporeana (for example lap top wizards) take on this feat as seriously as morceaux_de_machines, the means are there, installed, up and running, for anyone with a clear ear to utilize – and I do, with the pleasure of a whooopeee mind rider!
Comment ne pas s’intéresser à deux jeunes artistes dont le premier groupe avait eu la pertinence de se baptiser Napalm Jazz, (également émission de radio), échos lointains des Naked City côtoyant les assauts digitaux de Merzbow. morceaux_de_machines se fait un malin plaisir à brouiller les pistes, à tel point qu’on ne sait vraiment plus si ils ajoutent du bruit à la mélodie ou si ils restreignent le bruit à la mélodie. Acharné de l’improvisation, le duo canadien se lâche volontiers, citant au passage l’Art du bruit de Luigi Russolo ou Anthony Burgess (Orange mécanique) pour soutenir leur discours, leur évocation libre de la création artistique. À cheval entre l’ambient, le jazz, le hip-hop baclé et le bruit blanc, morceaux_de_machines tisse des atmosphères tendues, catharsis numérique de processeurs furibonds et de lignes de programmation effrénées. Paradoxalement, leur musique n’est pas sans évoquer les productions de Deathprod sur Biosphère ou d’un Stock, hausen & walkman remixé par Kevin Drumm… Dontigny et d’Orion se détachent de ces références en gardant une spontanéité et un abandon de soi à leur art. Ou une manière habile de garder le sourire en se bouchant les oreilles.
Animatori dello show radiofonico Napalm Jazz presso l’emittente quebecoise CKIA-FM, presto mutatosi in vero e proprio progetto musicale, Aimé Dontigny e Érick d’Orion hanno da qualche anno mutato denominazione in morceaux_de_machines mantenendo peraltro inalterata l’energia apocalittica della band originaria. Lo dimostra nitidamente l’album d’esordio liberum arbitrium che, prendendo le mosse dall’opera di Anthony Burgess e Luigi Russolo, si distende o piuttosto si aggroviglia in un infernale impasto impro-rumorista di ferocia inaudita. Un urticante attacco massimalista via carta vetra all’apparato uditivo, ed era da tempo che non se ne sentiva di così convincenti. (7/8)
This is one of the most disorienting and abrasive CDs I’ve ever heard.
That’s not an award I hand out lightly. I’ve heard more than my share of noiseartsoundsculpture stuff in the last few years, and while many memories of those listening sessions have been reduced to panic-stricken hindbrain rantings (“Ears Hurt. Brain Hurt. What Noise? Why Loud? Why Hurt? Must Run Away!,” etc.), I’d like to believe that I’m as capable of finding beauty in eardrum-bursting cacophony as anyone can reasonably be expected to be. But I don’t recall having heard any other “improvised computer music” that’s as disjointed, disassociate and relentlessly disquieting as the work of Érick d’Orion and Aimé Dontigny.
Imagine listening to three different CDs on three different portable CD players at the same time. Now imagine doing it while falling down an endless flight of stairs, the tracks cutting in and out, overlapping and merging as you tumble arse-over-tip. That’s cut-up, liberum arbitrium’s opener, and one of the disc’s most benevolent moments.
Looking for something a little more invigorating? Try multivisión espacial, a thirteen-minute epic that sounds like nothing so much as a welding torch fight in a jack-in-the-box factory. Or if you’d like something a little more immediate, try the jolting sonic jabs, needle-sharp noise bursts, overmodulated white noise and excessive reverb of spencer; listen carefully, and you’ll discover a catchy little rock rhythm in the depths of the mix… unless you have an aneurysm first.
If prime shake is a gentle lullaby sung by a solid steel whale to its aluminum and polycarbon children, métal scrap might be an auditory close-up of the sound your car’s engine makes when you don’t change the oil for 30,000 miles. But if you really want to up the ante, skip straight to the closer, digisex. What does it sound like? Imagine a backhoe pushing a combination kitchen garbage disposal/56K modem into a giant glass cistern full of razor blades and styrofoam packing peanuts — oh, and you’re watching and listening to it over a 28K video stream. Makes you want to run right out and buy the disc, doesn’t it?
The mad thing is, it actually might. If you’ve ever taken a whack at creating improvised processed-noise pieces on your home computer, you know that making them interesting — even making them painful for an extended period of time — takes some serious thought and real creativity. It’s one thing to turn the distortion and the reverb all the way up and leave the room for half an hour; it’s another matter entirely to sit there, in the eye of the storm, fine-tuning the wind and the rain and the lightning. Once you’ve made it through liberum arbitrium a few times, assuming you accomplish such a feat, you’ll develop a legitimate appreciation for d’Orion and Dontigny’s work; they rip sounds apart at an almost genetic level, scrunching them and tearing them and twisting them and hacking at them and carving them into little potato-peeler-curlicues with the ravenous relish of sonic serial killers.
Realistically, though, there aren’t many people who’ll buy a disc like this, and even fewer who’ll listen to it on a regular basis. This is one of those albums that defines one of the polar “ends” of your record collection. It can’t be listened to casually; simply withstanding it eats up far more mental CPU cycles than the average active listening experience. You can’t ignore it, and you certainly can’t tune it out.
I figure there are three types of people who’ll buy it:
- Academic, wire-rimmed-spectacle-wearing intellectual types who grew up on death metal and have spent their later years seeking out increasingly extreme thrills, attempting to trump other members of their social circle in the difficult listening stakes;
- People seeking sonic armament. For instance, I’d love to play digisex at 5:00 a.m., at very high volume, for the cocksucker with the weapons-grade subwoofer who drives past my house with his car stereo blaring at 3:00 a.m., or for the workmen at the town home development down the street who fire up their earth-moving equipment at 6:30 to get a head start on the day;
- Random buyers attracted by the cover art and Latin title.
Regardless of which category suits you, rest assured that you’ve never heard computers make noises like these before (no, not even when you tried to play the OS X install CD). There’s something so resolutely non-musical about liberum arbitrium — despite the brief, unrecognizable song snippets (i.e. the one at the beginning of digisex) that bleed through its pink-noise shell — that its most intractable moments will be like siren songs to those musical explorers who are driven to the polar extremes of sound. You can’t sing along to it, you sure as hell can’t dance to it — hell, you can barely think to it — but you need to hear an album like liberum arbitrium at least once in your life, if only to define your boundaries.
This noise duet is definitely of the maximalist persuasion. Aimé Dontigny and Érick d’Orion sculpt samples, digital noise, and miscellaneous sounds into thrilling oversaturated pieces. There is almost always a lot going on, yet the pair eschews harsh noise for its own sake. The eight improvisations on morceaux_de_machines’s debut CD liberum arbitrium have that sense of form and purpose one finds only in the works of the best noisicians. One could even say they approach the style from an academic electroacoustic point of view. No matter how noisy, dense, or harsh things get, they don’t reach the level where it would be cluttered and always seem to follow a greater plan. cut-up opens the disc with a brutal sound collage. multivisión espacial contains the harsher moments, Merzbow-esque, while rothko tends to be more pensive and restrained. digisex concludes with an orgiastic maelström, the perfect way to end.
This music is not for the faint at heart, but fans of intelligent noise — the kind that doesn’t take the listener for a brick wall you can throw anything at — will recognize in this album the spark of genius that occasionally sets an artist aside. And the final good news: liberum arbitrium is a class-A production (recorded while the group had a residency at Avatar in Quebec City) and is beautifully packaged with drawings by cartoonist Guy Boutin. A serious contender for best noise album in 2002, highly recommended.