Boomkat Product Review:
This inaugural collaborative outing from microsound maestros Taylor Deupree and Stephan Mathieu marks a creative partnership between two of the most influential electronic musicians of their generation. Both have made consistently brilliant solo albums over the past decade, and so it's with no small amount of excitement that we set about listening to their first foray as a duo. Transcriptions began as a proposed Stephan Mathieu solo album for 12K, but he soon asked label boss Deupree to get involved with the project, integrating manipulated acoustic sounds (from analogue synthesizer and guitar) into the original thread of Mathieu's music. For much of the album, Mathieu would outwardly seem to be taking the dominant role - his digital processing of wax cylinder and 78rpm records is one of ambient music's most compelling compositional techniques, harmoniously fusing the ancient, dusty physicality of one medium with the malleability and infinite possibilities of another. Deupree adds a whole other dimension to this however, contributing a very human element that interweaves cleverly with the main narrative without ever sounding too explicit. 'Nocturne' serves as a solid starting point, introducing many of the key ideas that'll be expounded over the next fifty minutes; we're greeted by an ocean of crackle and obliterated orchestrations while all manner of harmonic sub-currents swirl around within. Following on, there's a saturated heaviness to the droning constituents of 'Largo' that rejects pristine, incorruptible austerity in favour of gritty, bass-heavy tones and flickering, looped crackle, while the beautiful 'Solitude' is like a stream of cold air channelled straight into the brain. 'Remain' proves itself especially alluring too, drawing on Mathieu's pin-prick static and Deupree's feathery synthesizer resonance for six minutes of pure, electric bliss - It's all most most edifying. A little further on, and bathed in a gorgeous stream of hiss, 'Genius' marks another epiphanic moment, as quiet, heavily compressed bubbles pop and fizz in the right speaker, punctuating the lapping of obscured melodies rising from drones of infinitesimal proportions. Each piece has its own special qualities and as you'll no doubt have come to expect from these two most esteemed of artists, the production, composition and overall musicality of the project all meet with the very highest standards. Transcriptions is a very special album indeed - grab one while you can.