Stephan Mathieu - A Static Place
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German based electro-acoustic artist Stephan Mathieu has been relatively prolific in releasing works over the past ten years, either by himself under his own name, or in collaboration with other artists such as Janek Schaefer, John Hudak, Ekkehard Ehlers and Taylor Deupree. Seemingly without an allegiance to one single label, Mathieu has released on an equally long list of labels such as Orthlorng Musork, Cronica, Spekk and Line amongst others. 'A Static Place' adds Taylor Deupree's 12K to this ever growing list.
The first track, named after the theory 'The Schwarzchild Radius' is one which holds true throughout the entirety of this album. Defined as an “astronomical object has been so compressed on itself, it becomes a black hole”, under these conditions the object has an enormous gravitational force acting upon it which nothing can escape from, not even light. Mathieu doesn't just use this physics theory to add context and gravitas to the piece, it is as if the concept as been applied to the creative process. There is a clarity and cleanness to each track, be that through the production or whatever, these processed sounds, are indeed heavily processed as if under the immense weight of gravity. You can almost hear the compression of the sound waves piling on top of each other, eminating from the speakers in compressed layers.
Mathieu himself says about the work "A Static Place is about the journey of sound". This premise is realised throughout the album. You can expect slowly emerging sounds breathing in and out, a multicoloured spectrum of refracted white light. 'A Static Place I' and II are separated by 'Minuet', which describes this refraction perfectly. We also pass through moments of unease, where the pressurisation mounts to unbearable degrees before moving further along the journey.
Mathieu's 2005 collaboration with Taylor Deupree 'Transcriptions' featured field recordings, noise, clutter and interference, and in this sense 'A Static Places' marks a different approach for the artist and an all together different resulting sound. There is a considerable difference to other 12K artists also, and where there may be similarities at points with Murralin Lane's haunting choir of ghosts, the album's atom sized granularity is a step away from the grainy textures of Marcus Fischer, Taylor Deupree and others.
An exceptionally refined work, 'A Static Place' is a treat for any fan of microsounds, 12K and experimental music in general.
Available on CD from the 12K shop and digital formats elsewhere.