morceaux_de_machines’s follow-up to the thunderous debut liberum arbitrium is slightly more tempered. Not that A_dontigny (aka Aimé Dontigny) and Érick d’Orion are going soft, but since the first album they have considerably expanded their dynamic spectrum. The core of the music still consists of disembodied CD quotes and harsh electronics, but the pieces are less like brutal sound collages and more like deviant electroacoustic works (an impression emphasized by the fact that the group turned to maximalist electroacoustic composer Paul Dolden for the post-production and mastering stages). Tromocrates and Fonçage de pieux exemplify the new approach. Both of these long pieces explore quiet textures and extreme saturation in non-linear developments that sound surprisingly composed (for a group relying almost exclusively on improvisation). That being said, there is still a potent amount of harsh noise at play and fans of Merzbow, Smegma, Doc Wör Mirran and the likes will be delighted to feel (not “hear”, “feel”) waves of crashing sounds, escalating treated screams and various kinds of powerful sound matter pouring out of the speakers. Estrapade also features collaborations with two other duos: Parasites, the ongoing project of Diane Labrosse and Martin Tétreault, and the turntable duo of Tétreault and Japanese veteran Otomo Yoshihide. Dontigny and Labrosse had already recorded together (see the convincing live set Télépathie). The tracks with Parasites tend to use more closely defined textures layered in somewhat less intense, more pernicious assemblages, providing a counterpoint to the more vehement tracks. The 15-minute Trépanation provides one of the disc’s strongest moments, along with the aforementioned pieces and the intensely sculpted title piece. The only track with Yoshihide is less successful, mostly because individual inputs don’t fall as cleanly into place as elsewhere on the album. If you already enjoyed liberum arbitrium, don’t hesitate over this second effort. If you are new to the band, Estrapade may be a bit easier to get into (although if you are looking for the hardest-hitting punch, start with the previous album). In any case, this is highly recommended noise art.