Mathias Delplanque’s “Témoins” reviewed by Silence and Sound

Mathias Delplanque est un sculpteur de sons, agençant les field recordings et les notes sporadiques sur son nouvel album Témoins. Il est l’assembleur de vérités unies par le collage de contrastes mouvementés et de quiétude nocturne, desquels s’échappent les bruits de faunes enfouies derrière les grandes herbes de la poésie.

Témoins possède une narration radiophonique qui n’a pas besoin de mots pour véhiculer son histoire, parcours cabossé, entrecoupé de pause et de bifurcations vers des sphères aux vagues aériennes, gorgées de pluie et de respirations, de portes qui claquent et de xylophones en suspension, de chants d’oiseaux et de foule lointaine.

Mathias Delplanque canalise les grondements, leurs offre une issue de sortie vers des histoires aux retournements gravés dans les sillons de spirales agitées. Pas besoin d’expliquer, juste ressentir ce trop plein de réalité broyée et déposée sur une toile de jute aux mailles souterraines, longue glissade vers des rêves au gout de vestiges de surfaces poreuses et de béton désarmé, déshabillés de leur intimité. Superbe. Roland Torres

via Silence and Sound

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Simon Cummings’s “間 (ma)” reviewed by Vital Weekly

The only time before the name Simon Cummings was mentioned in Vital Weekly was when a CD by Kenneth Kirschner was reviewed in these pages (Vital Weekly 989), for which Cummings wrote a text. He studied composition, conducting and organ and later on also at Sonology in The Hague and his focus is upon “gradual processes of transformation”. This new release has a Japanese character/word as title, which is pronounced as ‘ma’ and difficult to translate. “The concept it embodies is a spatial one, specifically the gap between two discrete structural parts or elements, with associated connotations of an interval or pause”, plus a bit more which I must admit flew right over my head.

The music was recorded during a dark period in Cummings life and he was fixed on silence and to that he made recordings “during the traditional Anglican service of Evensong”, and removed everything from the recordings, except silences that occur here and there, and thus it captured echoes, resonances and ambience. Everyone who has ever been to a church service (and I recommend anyone to do at least once in a lifetime to visit a service, preferably with singing and all that) has an idea of how that sounds. Cummings takes these sounds into the world of digital processing, and it has to do with the negative space; the music is full of anger, he says. It’s not something I would have extracted from this music should I just hear this music by itself. I would probably think of this more like computer-controlled processes of snippets of near silent recordings, which they are, but not in terms of anger or negativity. It sets me as a listener free from the way it inspired Cummings to compose these works and I can take a much different approach, and that is that I think this is a work of great beauty. The music is part quiet and majestic, slow and minimal and has occasional bursts of loudness, of a massive eruption occasionally and controlled streams of molten lava; it is not necessarily all very quiet and microsounding around here. The cover indicates various pieces on this cassette, but I enjoyed it mostly as a one piece per side kind of thing; like a solid long collage of various electronic soundscapes cut together. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

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Ifs’s “Manifold Basketball” reviewed by Polifonia

Z mniejszą pewnością podchodzę do duetowego materiału Fischerle z Krzysztofem Ostrowskim (występuje jako Freeze i reprezentuje bydgoską scenę elektroniczną – tu nie chodzi o CKOD) wydanego dosłownie kilka dni później w portugalskiej Crónice pod szyldem Ifs. To króciutki album z wypełniającymi przestrzeń, a może raczej kreślącymi i projektującymi własną przestrzeń kompozycjami. A właściwie najwyraźniej improwizacjami, bo o ile poprzednio, przy solowej kasecie Wysockiego, można się było zastanawiać, co zaplanowane, a co spontaniczne, tutaj interakcja między dwoma znającymi się dobrze muzykami wydaje się mieć znaczenie kluczowe. Swoją dźwiękową przestrzeń Ifs rozpinają na kilku planach – mamy drobne zakłócenia/trzaski na pierwszym, czasem gęste skupiska filigranowych dźwięków, a szersze syntetyczne pejzaże z tyłu. Do tego dużo echa, być może sugerującego jakiś rodzaj nawiązania do muzyki ze studiów eksperymentalnych, ale zarazem też da się tu odczuć momentami poczucie braku konkretnego kierunku. Błądzenie bywa zaletą, tu przynajmniej jest się w czym zgubić, ale za to pewnie na końcu nie każdy się w tej muzyce odnajdzie. W całości nie jest to również rzecz do słuchania rano czy po południu, pewnie też nie w pracy. Najlepszym fragmentem wydaje mi się oniryczne Three-Point Shot Captured in Slow Motion z pogłosami niczym w jakimś korytarzu ze szkła.

via Polifonia

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Soon in Crónica: Simon Cummings’s “間 (ma)”

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Mathias Delplanque’s “Témoins” reviewed by Chain DLK

“Témoins” comprises three pieces of sound art composed and compiled between 2011 and 2014- or just the first two pieces if you opt for the cassette rather than the download. Conceptually they are post-production-light layerings of organic recordings from three different locations that were given to Delplanque as though they were instructions, on top of which Delplanque played some ‘real’ instruments in situ to sit within or atop those environments.

Initially, “Roz” has a pure-sounding bit of improvised glockenspiel for its musical core, spouting occasional formless and pleasant notes that surf the mixed rural exterior sounds- birdsong, sheep, distant wind and traffic etc. A surprise cacophony of spontaneous percussion heralds an unexpected shift into the second half, which is brasher, littered with odd backwards-sounds, mumbling voices and nearby rapid watercourses- perhaps exposing the ‘workshops for schools’ element of the original commission. This settles almost as abruptly as it begins as we loop back to the calmer and more ambient world we first came in on.

“Bruz” is a sharper and more indoors piece, sampling percussive door slams, loud air conditioning units, passing conversational snippets, catering noises, drilling and distant vacuum cleaners all from a college campus. It’s described as a ‘sound postcard’ and as that, it’s a postcard from a situation from where nobody would ever send a real postcard- frankly it would be fundamentally dull if it were not for the glockenspiel-like sound which, again, wanders gently over the top to provide the impression of structure into an otherwise fairly shapeless arrangement of found sounds more fitting of a sound effects library than a curated piece of sound art. This melody morphs into a softer, more accordion-like arrangement towards the end.

Shorter digital-only track “TU” rolls with the same environmental tones as “Bruz” but with more instrumentation, unfolding out of piano, acoustic guitar and other ensemble instruments as though they are warming up to perform traditionally, but instead they begin to sustain indefinitely. When paying attention rather than treating this release as background noise, this track- despite being tacked on- is absolutely the strongest and most detailed of the three, thanks in part but not entirely to its closer relationship with a more traditional performance. At times when the piano plucks away idly it feels structurally similar to Jean-Michael Jarre’s “Waiting For Cousteau” but with college sounds instead of water.

Elements of this sound art feel like walking a path very well trodden before. Some of the environmental sounds are certainly cliché and conceptually there’s nothing that could be described as challenging in particular. It’s the soft, chilled out melodies at the top end that make this collection worthwhile. Stuart Bruce

via Chain DLK

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New release: Mathias Delplanque’s “Témoins”

Témoins is Mathias Delplanque’s third release in Crónica, after the acclaimed Passeports (Crónica 048~2010) and Transmissions (Crónica 088~2014).

A series of commissioned works, each connected to a location given to me. The sites were used as recording studios for creating multilayered compositions with minimal to none post-production. All instruments were played on site. Roz was recorded in Roz-sur-Couesnon in April-May 2014, mixed in Nantes in September 2016. Commissioned by the sound art gallery Le Bon Accueil (Rennes), as a workshop with schools from the area of the Mont Saint-Michel. Bruz was recorded at the Faculté des Métiers (IFA) de Bruz (Rennes) in March-April 2011, mixed in Nantes in May 2011. Commissionned by the Festival Electroni-K in Rennes, for the “Sound Postcards” program. TU was recorded at the Théatre Universitaire de Nantes, 8 October 2011, during a rehearsal of Stomach Company’s Ô l’air frais des bords de route. Mixed in Nantes, 9 October 2011.

  1. Roz (19:57)
  2. Bruz (21:22)
  3. TU (08:30)

Recorded and mixed by Mathias Delplanque
Mastered by Miguel Carvalhais
Photo by Estelle Chaigne

Mathias Delplanque was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 1973. He is a composer, performer, improviser, music critic, author of sound installations, teacher, composer for theatre and dance, and the founding member of several musical ensembles. He lives and works in Nantes, France.

Delplanque started working as a composer in 1998 as he graduated from the Fine Arts School and decided to put an end to his sculpture activity and turn towards sound creation. He has since been releasing on various international labels, including his own label Bruit Clair. He collaborated with musicians from various points of the musical spectrum, and numerous visual artists, writers, photographers, film directors, dancers, etc. His installation works are frequently shown in galleries and art centres, and he regularly performs on stage, solo or accompanied by other musicians.

Témoins is available as a limited-release tape and as a digital download.

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15 years

15 years ago today! February 1, 2003. The launch of the first two Crónica releases — Hard Disk and Là Où Je Dors — at the unforgettable Aniki Bóbó in Porto.

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Mathias Delplanque’s “Témoins” reviewed by Rockerilla

Quale autentico scultore della materia sonora, Mathias Delplanque è stato più volte incaricato di veri e propri lavori “su commissione”, da parte di istituzioni artistico-culturali. Témoins raccoglie due di questi lavori realizzati tra il 2011 e il 2014, ciascuno intorno ai venti minuti di durata, nei quali l’artista francese lascia letteralmente parlare gli ambienti di registrazione, riempiti soltanto di poche frequenze sintetiche disturbate e sottoposti a un editing minimale.

Nel solo più breve bonus digitale si affacciano simulacri armonici catturati in uno spazio accidentale, che dell’artista francese non smentisce la peculiare topografia sonora. Raffaello Russo

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Mathias Delplanque’s “Témoins” reviewed by Aural Aggravation

Mark E Smith has died. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, the surprise should be that he didn’t die sooner. But I can’t help but be shaken by the news. It doesn’t feel appropriate to post any music reviews: my social media streams are aclog with tributes to Smith, and it feels wrong even to add to the noise. Part of me feels I should revisit a slew of the old favourites, but they’re so engrained in my mind, I don’t really need to hear them, especially not now.

And so I immerse myself in Témoins, the latest offering from Mathias Delplanque, whose work I’ve previously enjoyed. The three sections of Témoins (including the digital bonus track ‘TU)’ are a world away from the ramshackle three-chord stomps and lyrical derangements of The Fall: these instrumental works – sound collages laid over difficult hums and drones – present a very different kind of abstraction. And it reminds me, vitally, that life goes on. Music goes on.

The sparse arrangements – often, they barely feel like arrangements – are as much about space and silence as sound. The sounds – the whirrs, the drones, he hums, the hisses – are interrupted, disrupted, broken – by seemingly random elements. Birdsong, lowing cattle, slamming doors, clatters and bangs, thumps and crackles. These are amidst the irregular extranea which form the fabric of the material of Témoins.

The atmosphere shifts and moods emerge most unexpectedly from seemingly innocuous sound pairings and juxtapositions. Late in the second piece, ‘Bruz’, thin, tentative notes hover long in the air, needling the senses while unexpected bumps and knocks at close proximity are enough to make you jump. Muffled conversation carries on all around. Here, Delplanque expertly recreates the conditions and sensations of the anxiety of agoraphobia. It grows chill, and it’s difficult to not feel tense are wary. On ‘TU’ – by far the shortest piece running for less than ten minutes – a ghostly piano drifts into the damp air while scraping footfalls combine to create an unsettling, spine-tingling atmosphere.

With Témoins, Mathias Delplanque delivers an hour of understated yet quietly compelling ambient dissonance. Christopher Nosnibor

via Aural Aggravation

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Soon in Crónica: Mathias Delplanque’s “Témoins”

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