Boomkat Product Review:
Stephan Mathieu's latest work transforms music made for Gustav Flaubert's titular play. First published as part of the book Trois Contes (Three Tales) in 1877 and translating to 'A Simple Heart', the text, a modern rereading of an old tale, makes for a neat analog to Mathieu's sonic practice - augmenting recordings of obsolete formats - wax cylinders, 78s - and early instruments by computer processes. Using pieces written by early renaissance composer Guillaume Dufay (1400-1474) and performed in 1934 by La Société Pro Musica Antiqua de Buruxelles, and Tomás Luis De Victoria (1548 - 1611) recorded in 1924 by Choeur de la Chapelle Sixtine, Mathieu takes these pieces into the 21st century via Columbia Phonoharp (a tabletop zither from the 1890s played with ebows), gramophone, tenor violin, ARP 2600, and computer, resulting a spectrum of glowing harmonics, sheer tones and awning drones sounding quite unlike those made by any other artist. Over eight movements we're drawn wide-eyed into a fragile, otherworldly ecology of unusual timbre and filigree frequencies spelling out the tale of "a love deprived maid subjugated by religion and fascinated by a parrot from America" through eerily ancient songcraft and labyrinthine soundscape details.