Liberum Arbitrium

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This noise duo is definitely of the maximalist persuasion. Aimé Dontigny and Érick Dorion 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' 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 electro-acoustic point of view. No matter how noisy, dense, or harsh things get, they don't reach the level where it would be cluttered and they always seem to follow a greater plan. "Cut-Up" opens the disc with a brutal sound collage. "Multivision Espacial" contains the harsher, Merzbow-esque moments, while "Rothko" tends to be more pensive and restrained. "Digisex" concludes with an orgiastic maelstrom, the perfect way to end. This music is not for the faint of 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 apart. And the final good news: Liberum Arbitrium is a Class-A production (recorded while the group had a residency at Avatar in Québec City) and is beautifully packaged with drawings by cartoonist Guy Boutin. A serious contender for best noise album in 2002, and highly recommended.

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