"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

White horse

We can argue about whether the Bill Callahan songbook is worthy of it, but there can't be much dispute about the fastidious connoisseurship that already characterises Stephan Mathieu's new vinyl/FLAC-only label, Schwebung (down to details like its customised ringtone & the meaning of its lovely, apt name - "the beats producted by the simultaneous vibration of two sounds, especially in unisons & octaves when nearly, but not quite in tune"). This is true of his work more generally, of course - from the extraordinary care & precision of his live phonoharp placements, as Fluid Radio & The Liminal noted, to that shaping classics like Transcriptions (with Taylor Deupree) or A Static Place (the latter a mainstay of LMYE's Festive 50 + 50 of 2011's exceptional releases)...

A platform for Mathieu's "simultaneously vibrating" collaborations, as well as solo work, Schwebung starts life with an avant-pop encounter with Sylvain Chauveau & Adam Wiltzie. Callahan's "ballades" do little for these ears, but the treatments Mathieu & Chauveau (who has plenty of form in recontextualising pop - exhibits A & B) conjure are quite ravishing, if the the first two instalments from the again beautifully & aptly named PalimpsestChosen One Prince Alone In The Studio, are anything to go by - their stately, swelling shimmers in somewhat other-worldly, even disorienting, contrast to the songs. 

So even if Palimpsest seems like something of an outlier it is ultimately a sister to this year's revisit to Radioland (the scintillating Panoramica live workout with Caro Mikaleff on Line) or the pair's glorious-sounding & looking Constellation or even an absorbing smaller-scale piece like Re-composition from bouzouki from late last year. & so too will be Schwebung's next release (the reference to it seems to have disappeared, but it's with a Japanese artist...) since Mathieu is plainly incapable of making anything not hugely alluring

Mini films Design Detox _ two + download link from cabina

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