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stephan mathieu - A Static Place
Stephan Mathieu presents his long awaited new album, this time for 12k. Accompanying the 'Remain' album for Line, also out this week, 'A Static Place' more or less defines the phrase "travelling without moving" in sublime style, placing the listener at the epicentre of a deeply affecting electro-acoustic soundscape. To paint this vivid imagery Stephan plays ancient 78rpm recordings of music fromt he late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era through two mechanical acoustic HMV Model 102 gramophones and records their output with a pair of customized mics. These sounds are then transformed into the blissed aural catharsis you hear through spectral analysis and convolution processes. To the untrained ear the academic stuff is just that, while the music is simply of the most arresting, awe-inspiring nature, similar in some respects to the work of Philip Jeck or the Caretaker but with an intensely detailed adroitness that's unmistakably Mathieu. Essentially we're listening to the resonance of archaic instruments played long time ago, structured into esoteric shapes and gaseous forms the likes of which their original creators could barely fathom, but would still recognise as the beautifully alien sounds they are. Highly Recommended.