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stephan mathieu - The Key To The Kingdom
The exceptional Stephan Mathieu ventures onto vinyl for this latest release, referencing the stylistic and aesthetic cues associated with the 78rpm era. This is no empty gesture either: on The Key To The Kingdom Mathieu uses an antique Phonoharp No.2 zither from the late 19th century, paying tribute to the music of gospel preacher and noted Phonoharp performer Washington Phillips. While Phillips would employ his zither as a means of self-accompaniment to his voice, Mathieu attaches a number of E-bows to his instrument, spinning out a series of modulating, harmonically complex drones all interpreted and reconstituted via computer. The two pieces here are typical of the artist's freakishly musical approach to experimental electronic sound design, simultaneously remaining true to the conceptual driving force behind the project and opening up portals into celestially beautiful melody. The fact that the transcendent, ethereal material on offer here is derived from such a basic, old-fashioned instrument only serves to heighten the impact of Mathieu's ingenuity - able to coax the most unearthly, ear-caressing sonorities from so primitive a starting point. Wonderful stuff, but be quick, this is limited to just 400 copies for the world...