remote_ thoughts | contemporary electronic

Stephan Mathieu – A Static Place – 12k

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Minimalist by remotethoughts on February 21, 2011

Stephan Mathieu - A Static Place

An early contender for album of the year here from the marvellous Stephan Mathieu as he joins forces with 12k. It’s another gorgeous solo outing exploring the realms of the soundscape in a deliciously atmospheric way.

Created using a set of 78rpm recordings of early gothic and baroque music, Mathieu then set about manipulating and transforming these sounds into the ghostly and wistful collection of music on A Static Place.

From the off there’s a calm and almost pastoral lilt to the ambience with dusty textures and layers of hiss hiding behind some truly beautiful tones. Gliding serenely and using the innate sense of musicality from the originals this work is at once very modern, yet at the same time a glimpse into a world gone by.

Variation comes by adding differing passages within the tracks and the seemingly effortless way the luscious is blended with the haunting really is a treat for the ears. There’s a sense of unhurried charm that really comes to the fore when you allow yourself to be truly immersed, preferably with headphones in my opinion.

Each piece weaves a slightly different spell and the overall effect is of an otherworldly place that we’re being permitted to sink into for a short time. The layers are melodic, always, but with hidden depths that range from bass hum through to a light dissonance which keeps things varied.

A magical slice of work, then, and something for lovers of the purest beatless music to enjoy over and over again. Truly sublime.

Check it here: 12k

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Rose & Sandy – Play Cat’s Cradle – Moving Furniture Records

Posted in Reviews: Electronic by remotethoughts on February 20, 2011

Rose & Sandy - Play Cat's Cradle

This is the first of two releases I’ve come across on the Dutch label Moving Furniture. Starting in 2008 with a series of CDr releases the time is now right for them to move into the world of manufactured high quality CDs. And my first review will concentrate on this gorgeous work from Rose & Sandy.

Far from being the female duo that the name might imply, Rose & Sandy is, in fact, Ruaridh and Dave Donnelly. The names may be familiar as Law’s work as The Village Orchestra is certainly well known and liked around these parts, whilst Donnelly’s Production Unit mixes and membership of Marcia Blaine School for Girls ensures a high pedigree for this work.

Taking a somewhat more chilled out approach than the acts in question this 40 minute slice of delicious ambience uses guitars and subtle electronics to provide a mournful and melancholic listening experience. Gentle, distant guitar strums and a distinct sense of melody offer a reverb-drenched soundscape that ebbs and flows throughout. There are clearly defined passages here with one part using a background tone that speaks volumes, without ever impinging itself on the single notes that are layered over the top. Small loops of sound play insistently while sad chords come and go, joining the mix for a short while before making way for more overt landscapes of texture that creep around the edges.

Then stillness, quiet, a brief moment for contemplation before the sounds slowly build up for the lovely finale. A spiral of looped guitar, a dash of lo-fi distortion morphing into a dreamy drone towards the end. Sumptuous.

Stripping back their collective sounds, this pair of musicians has constructed a rather beautiful and evocative journey into depth and musical narrative. As such it gets a hearty recommendation.

Check it here: Moving Furniture Records

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