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MATHIEU, STEPHAN - The falling Rocket

Format: do-LP
Label & Cat.Number: Dekorder [067]
Release Year: 2013
Note: nine new pieces spread on 4 LP sides, created on Farfisa organ, gramophone, Hohner Electronium and Radio... very focused multil-layered organic drones, like ROTHKOs monochrome pictures transformed into sound (as Frans de Waard says)... comes w. nice gatefold cover
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €20.00

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" "The Falling Rocket" is Stephan Mathieu's first full-length album for Dekorder after releasing two highly-acclaimed 10" singles for the label in 2011 and 2009. It follows a series of recent collaborative works with Robert Hampson (in the reformed Main on Editions Mego), David Sylvain, Tashi Wada and the Smog songbook "Palimpsest" with Sylvain Chauveau on his own Schwebung imprint.

Here, Mathieu uses a similar setup as in Main, performing realtime arrangements on the Farfisa VIP 233 organ, mechanical gramophone, a Hohner Electronium and Radio, with the addition of Caro Mikalef's ebowed Phonoharp on one track. The recordings are densely layered into massive, seemingly liquid clusters of pure sound with the original instruments voices reduced to a vague afterglow. At times they're not unlike the overtone-rich Walls Of Sound of Glenn Branca and Phill Niblock, with ghost choirs appearing out of nowhere. Tracks like "Teide 1" are among the most roaring and brute pieces Mathieu has ever recorded but there's also an almost pastoral quietness in tracks like "Deneb" and the album as a whole is one of his most accomplished works. Even though Mathieu uses tone clusters rather than conventional melodies there's still a rich harmonic and hallucinatory quality inherent to his compositions. This is true cosmic music without the capital K.

The record comes in a beautiful gatefold jacket designed by Caro Mikalef of Argentinian Studio Cabina. Vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, pressed at Pallas.

Stephan Mathieu is a self taught composer and performer of his own music, working in the fields of electroacoustics and abstract digitalia. His sound is largely based on early instruments, environmental sound and obsolete media, which are recorded and transformed by means of experimental microphony, re-editing techniques and software processes involving spectral analysis and convolution; it has been compared to the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, the work of Colorfield artists Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly.
During the last decade Mathieus music has been released on 30 CDs and vinyl records, both solo and in collaboration with Akira Rabelais, Douglas Benford, Ekkehard Ehlers, Janek Schaefer, John Hudak and Taylor Deupree." [label info]


"Sometime ago I picked this up on Mathieu's new label site as a download, and learned that he's now interested in releasing on vinyl or 24-bit flac and nothing else. No CDs, no MP3s, no Itunes, no Spotify and celebrating 64 more years of vinyl to come. I sincerely hope Mathieu will live to see that. I myself would never claim something about the future, having wrongly announced the death of cassettes a long time. Crystal ball gazing is perhaps not something I am very good at. Anyway, here 'The Falling Rocket' is now released on a double LP, not on Mathieu's imprint but on Dekorder, who already released two 10" records from him. Currently Mathieu's set-up consists of a Farfisa VIP 233 organ, mechanical gramophone, a Hohner Electronium and radio, of which he controls with real-time computer dealing. His music hasn't changed much over the past few years and I could complain about that, but I won't. If you have been reading these pages over the last ten or so years, you probably know I am a big, big admirer of his music (hence the fact that I grabbed this as press download, without paying my duties as a reviewer, simply because I don't review downloads, but I was very curious about this). I love all things drone like, minimal and mysterious, all of which one can find easily in the work of Mathieu. Mathieu paints monochrome pictures in sound, with varying shades of one color. Say the Rothko of sound (hoping Mathieu's life is longer, again, and ends more happily). Nine pieces, of which seven are about ten minutes, and the sum of the other two is also ten. I was wondering if there is some logical or concept behind that. Nine of these ten pieces sound like textbook Mathieu, but 'Tiede 1' is a work that is actually noisy, something we are not used from him (with that one notable exception 'Kapotte Muziek by Stephan Mathieu'). This has quite an aggressive, maybe even violent undercurrent. It's a bit too heavy for me, but maybe I just have an urge for mellow music? This is great stuff, obviously. More please!" [FdW/Vital Weekly]