Boomkat Product Review:
The sound alchemist behind Elodie (with Andrew Chalk), Af Ursin (on his own) and the Metaphon and La Scie Dorée labels mints a new one-off alias, Emma Tate, with an elemental, soul-wracking beauty for the Documenting Sound series.
An utterly arresting composition built solely from recordings of his breathing, ‘Ame Matte’ is perhaps the purest, most spellbinding example of Timo’s work that we’ve yet heard. It was recorded at his woodland home in Belgium and offers a rare glimpse of his solo practice for the first time since 2017’s ‘Ιτινερα = Itinera’ as Af Ursin, effectively pursuing that record’s appreciation of liminal tones and metaphysical presence to logical, immersive extremes that reflect his experience of lockdown. More often noted as a consummate collaborator with everyone from Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heemann to Raymond Dijkstra, Timo’s solo work is always really special and no less so here, providing the Documenting Sound series one of its most rarified and quietly critical highlights.
Getting right down to musical fundamentals, Timo judiciously uses layering and fx to turn his barely-there palette of sighs, gasps and wordless whispers into a congregation of ghostly inference, gradually feeling out a totally secluded space that could be in the woods as much as leagues underwater or stranded in deep space. It could hardly be more evocative of the stark loneliness experienced by so many of us during the past 18 months, yet for all its horror movie / concrète mise-en-scene, there’s something comforting about his reserved presence that makes his a cappella recordings so rewarding.
Considered in context of its title, ‘Ame Matte’ or ‘Matte Soul,’ and the track titles - ‘Atem’ is German for breath, and its anagrammatic B-side of reversed breathing ‘Meta’ - it feels as though Timo grants us access behind the veil of his sound, to some liminal, purgatorial mindset previously glimpsed in the likes of NWW’s classic ‘Soliloquy For Lilith.’