Boomkat Product Review:
Swedish drone alchemist Mats Erlandsson is sitting in a fictional room on ‘Gyttjans Topografi’, imagining a virtual chamber orchestra using zithers, tapes, double bass, harmonium, organ, and various synthesisers to draft a treatise on alternative tuning and non-normative harmonic structures. Transcendent material - new via XKatedral and recommended if yr into Ellen Arkbro, Duane Pitre, Sarah Davachi.
“The music on this recording is performed by a kind of fictitious chamber ensemble situated in an imaginary room outlined by textures that alternate between gestural foreground and passive landscape. The three pieces contained within this release are tied together by sharing similar harmonic material and instrumentation and could ideally be perceived as parts of one long performance stretching through the two sides of the record. The textural room in which this musical performance operates is unreliable, unstable, constantly shifting in size and activity from sparse and open to dense and claustrophobic. Inside this non-euclidean performance space a chamber ensemble made up of zithers expanded through analog tape transposition, harmonium and organ, double bass, digital FM, feedback-convolution and Serge modular synthesizer perform a music made from justly tuned intervals arranged in a way that blurs the distinction between traditional minor and major tonal harmony in favour of harmonic progression within an essentially modal framework.
‘Oxidationstabell för Hytta A’ unfolds the harmonic material slowly in three sections where individual lines move independently initiated by the attack of the zither while the textural properties of the room shifts and shimmers. ‘Törnar’ forms a dense harmonic counterpoint where lines built from the same intervallic relationships gradually shift the balance from one spectral focal point to the next while the textural-spatial elements move under pressure and permeate the harmonic layers. The double bass heard on this piece was performed by Yair Elazar Glotman.
The whole of Side B is made up of one piece - ‘Sänka’, using a series of chords made from harmonic inversions of a single set of intervals as an anchor, or synchronisation point, for voices gliding towards, or away, from their designated goal as parts of the harmonic structure of the piece. In addition to the harmonic and textural layers previously present, a third percussive voice is present here whose rhythmic material is intimately tied to the intervallic relationships present throughout the record.
The material used to make these pieces included non-harmonic sounds and contaminated field-recordings that have gone through a sort of feedback process between digital and analog, or acoustic, processing where the recordings were edited, processed and re-amplified and recorded again in acoustic spaces to shape their character and imprint acoustic identities on the recordings. The tonal instruments were treated in a process analogous to this - harmonic material built from recordings and digitally generated synthesis recorded, transcribed, rearranged and overdubbed again with additional electronic or acoustic instruments to form a composite electroacoustic instrumental sound.
Mats Erlandsson is a composer and musician, part of the vibrantly reemerging field of drone music in Stockholm, Sweden, associated with practices characterised by the extensive use of sustained sound. Erlandsson presents his work both as a solo artist and in collaborations, most notably together with Yair Elazar Glotman and Maria W Horn.”