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WHETHAM, SIMON - What matters is that it matters

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Baskaru KARU 38
Release Year: 2015
Note: the British composer who collects field recordings from every place he visits with an excellent atmospheric / amorph musique concrete / found sound collage (6 long tracks)... "Waves of grainy sound gauze over trailing whistles and drones. And the crackle... Once youve tuned into the surface noise, theres no escaping it" [Aural Aggravation]
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00

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"Simon Whetham is an acute listener, a field recorder, a thinker, a globetrotter, and a mobilizer. However, he is also a sonic cook. Wherever he goes, he picks up sounds and atmospheres as if they were exotic ingredients. And for 'What Matters Is That It Matters', he made us a stew, slowly simmered until all the flavours come through.
'What Matters Is That It Matters', Whetham's first album for Baskaru, is slow music. And slow music deserves to be taken in slowly - you don't wolf comfort food down, you savour it, relishing its complexity, absorbing its warmth. Unlike most of Whetham's previous works, this album is not focused on a specific geographical location. As if the artist had given himself free reign. The resulting music has a career-encompassing feel, as Whetham touches base with pure field recordings, elongated instrumental textures, and treated snippets of melodies (piano, banjo). 'What Matters Is That It Matters' provides an incredibly rich listening experience, pairing relevant esthetical concerns and listening enjoyment.
Englishman Simon Whetham has been exploring the art of composing with field recordings and found sounds for a decade, a period during which he released music on labels such as Crnica, Entr'acte, Helen Scarsdale Agency, and Line. He is perhaps best known for 'Active Crossover', a workshop / collaboration / installation project with which he is travelling the world." [label info]


"Whereas Whethams previous work has been preoccupied with geography, the specifics of location, his latest offering uses found sound and field recordings in a very different way. Rather than evoke particular places and experiences, What Matters is that it Matters conjures much vaguer, more abstract notions of place or perhaps more accurately space, both external and internal.

In a world in which global digital networks render time, place and space subjective matters in many respects geography is increasingly a state of mind What Matters is that it Matters offers as much an exploration of a type of psychological topography and a physical one, and forges a sonic labyrinth which the listeners mental processes amplify, consciously and otherwise.

The album sees Whetham explore forms and textures with haunting, atmospheric compositions. Waves of grainy sound gauze over trailing whistles and drones. And the crackle. Once youve tuned into the surface noise, theres no escaping it. Of course, this being a CD release, the crackle of interference that rises and falls and disrupts the smooth swell of gently turning drones isnt real surface noise. Its the evocation of surface noise. But this in itself is sufficient to trigger a sequence of association. The nostalgia for the vinyl age as likely now to prompt reminiscences of listening to trip-hop releases which in turn evoke a bygone era, or otherwise provoking recollections of listening to your parents scratchy old vinyl and falling in love with the music of a previous generation. Equally, the crackle may call to mind a youth now long gone, and with it, a swell of disparate emotions, nostalgic and conflicting. You dont hear these things: you feel them, in the pit of your stomach, trickling through your nervous system, twitching in the back of your mind.

I digress but this is all about the digression, the fleeting idea that life past will forever hang in the air, occasionally needling the present time of the listener, whether welcome or not, whether invited or not. What matters is not the album per se, but the experience, the way in which it resonates: what matters is that it exists, and does resonate almost subliminally on a number of levels. What matters is that its personal, intimate, interior. It matters, and it matters a great deal." [Christopher Nosnibor/Aural Aggravation]