Boomkat Product Review:
XKatedral returns with this blistering terraform of sprawling ambient and electro-acoustic works originally released as a tape edition of 100 copies in 2017 and now newly reworked and remastered for this first-time vinyl edition. Highly recommended if yr into Eno, Jim O’Rourke, Fennesz, Ben Frost.
Turning field recordings into staggering noise vistas, gravelly swells of industrial rhythm, epic subs and gorgeous Eno-esque ambience, the first joint work between Swedish electro-acoustic composers Maria W Horn - co-founder of the influential XKatedral label with Kali Malone - and Mats Erlandsson, a fellow sound artist and studio assistant at EMS Stockholm, gets some extra special attention on this new 2020 edition.
The duo have returned to embellish and augment the field recordings of industrial scale rice farms in Catalonia that formed the basis of their residency and performance at the Eufonics Festival in 2016, and were originally issued on tape under their Dufwa alias in 2017. Perhaps overlooked at the time due to the scarcity of the 100 tape run, this freshly finessed version beautifully highlights the pair’s evocative, descriptive electro-acoustic abilities in a way surely worthy of comparison with work by Fennesz or Jim O’Rourke.
The flat landscape of fields irrigated by canals and clanking pumps prompts a range of coarse and poignant responses across ‘Fältinspelningar från’, with the slow baked pace and grinding attrition of ’40°42’43.564"N 0°40’59.112"E’ imparting the feel of grinding away in midday sun with delirious results, while the roiling rhythm and refractive filtering of ‘Atypi’ feels to emulate the complexity of the water irrigation systems. More poignantly, the dusky pads and ricocheting percussion of ‘Litania’ evokes the liminal beauty and frightening vitality of vast agroindustrial projects, and the album’s succinct closer ‘Utevaro’ captures a very Eno-esque sort of wavering pop-ambient or cinematic emotion, hovering between awe and tragic melancholy.