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Stephan Mathieu - A Static Place [12K - 2011]

Sound artist, musician and self-taught composer Stephan Mathieu graces us with his 2011 release A Static Place.  The cd is created through electro acoustics; using gramophones to play early 78 records, re-recording the sounds through specific microphones and processing these sounds utilizing spectral analysis and convolution his is able to form sounds that are graceful and distinctive.

The way that sounds are presented here, on five tracks, paint a picture that is uplifting, soothing and emotive.  All of the pieces on the surface have a similar feel (with the exception of “Dawn”).  What changes is the mood that’s produced.  On “A Static Place Ia” the feeling is pensive with a twist of sacred, psalm-like notes.  The sounds are penetrating yet shimmering and dramatic. With “Minuet” the atmosphere is one of wondrous serenity.  Its gentle quietness gives the impression of floating in a dream like state.  On “A Static Place II” that emotion starts to change.  There’s a cold, anxious aura almost as if everything is moving in slow motion. 

The one song that presents a variation to the other four is “Dawn”.  Here sounds become twisted; notes and pitches seem to turn inward.  The clatter of cymbals is heard, or is it?  Subterranean static-y drone jazz may be a description.

The quality that stands out here is Mathieus’ ability to manipulate sound in an articulate and expressive way; not to mention an outstanding ear for intertwining every hum, static and note to create something so uplifting.  The art work needs to be pointed out also as the music seems to correspond to the shades and tones of the colors used.  All together it depicts a skillful and imaginative work.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Viktorya Kaufholz
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