STEPHAN MATHIEU: Radioland (Die Schachtel)


Posted on Jun 1st 2008 09:46 pm

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Stephan Mathieu: Radioland

Die Schachtel 2008
07 Tracks. 55mins48secs

The Sad Mac, Stephan Mathieu’s last album, dreamed an overfoaming white whose veneer was smudged and cracked by misty slides of tone and violin sonotas wrung through the proverbial digital hamper. Radioland slinks under the same umbrella, yet its materials float from a wholly other fount. The sack of material – which amounted to some fifty gigabytes – was sprung from real-time processed short-wave radio signals and was doctored through custom-designed auto-generative software. It’s no moot point, as the alterations in procedure makes the ensuing work a bit more enigmatic to itself, the elements a little more alien to one another, and thus better able to continually refresh their own theoretical premises.

There’s something firm and plummy about these rich textural networks. Compositions consist of brushstrokes of exquisite delicacy and quicksilver speed, and small clusters of percussion that revolve in interdependent orbits, all bouncing off each other in chain reaction. The tempo continues as a sort of eternal drift, the spaces in them enormous. All appearances aside, these airless atmospheres are tightly controlled; it’s a control that is subtle and easeful, yet that rings with a tincture of inevitability.

Even the busiest moments move together with a collective sense of direction. Often it is almost literally music to watch: the layering produces a sense of translucency as the attention of listening moves incessantly within the composite field. Tracks like Raphael and Promenade feature flickering patterns of notes panned gradually back and forth between upper and lower registers, crossing a drone moving in the opposite direction, opened up by the starburst sound of overtone harmonics that builds a shimmering space. Then there are simpler selections, consisting of pleasingly open structures and shapes , buoyed by melodic fragments. The work is not without a moment that isn’t arranged and performed with evident pleasure; everything bearing the stamp throughout of its origin in Mathieu’s distinctive imagination.


Icon: arrow Stephan Mathieu | Die Schachtel

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Comments (2)

2 Responses to “STEPHAN MATHIEU: Radioland (Die Schachtel)”

  1. mapsadaisicalon 01 Jun 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention Max, I’m going to have to hunt this one out. Probably not the sort of thing that the milkfactory normally covers, great to see Mathieu getting some coverage though.

  2. maedaon 08 Jun 2008 at 3:09 pm

    and not a word about this extraordinary beautiful packaging?
    let alone is worth the money