Boomkat Product Review:
20th anniversary edition of Stephan Mathieu’s stunning debut album, a hushed introduction to his liminal sensitivities - essential listening if you're into Jan Jelinek, The Caretaker, Akira Rabelais or David Sylvian. A proper pearl, this one.
Highlighted for reissue by the brilliantly named Weeding label, the timeless, hypnagogic qualities of this classic album stem from Mathieu’s core interest in vintage, outmoded equipment and their unique fidelities. Sampling 78s and environmental sounds and combing the results with granular processing (and a spectrum of other synth tekkers), he animates their ghosts and spectral infidelities - ravishing crackles, infrasonic hums - in elegantly slow moving, chamber-like arrangements that have become a hallmark of his and subsequently coveted by waves of wistful artists enamoured with his contemporary vision of archaic, arcane audition.
Mathieu’s music finds a unique sensuality in the space between analog and digital textures, most beautifully highlighted here on the anxiety-dissolving crackle and hum of ‘Variation Eins’, and the exquisite touch of ‘Variation Drei’ as it gradiates from Porter Ricks-like subaquatic intensity to Basinski-esque damaged keys. The synths proceed accompanied by filigree spectral electronics a la Coil’s ELpH in the titular closer, a mix of paranoid drone surveillance and funereal pads eliding in thee uncanniest manner that feels very much at home deep into 2020, within a modern field of de/focussed ambient explorers and electro-acoustic composers from Pendant to Bellows and, of course, the Caretaker.