“Hidden Name” reviewed by Vital

Ah two busy bees, Janek Schaefer probably more at the forefront than Stephan Mathieu, but both are always to be found somewhere. This is not the first time that they work together. In 2003 they released a work that was made in a hotel room in Montreal, together with Radboud Mens and Timeblind (see Vital Weekly 379). In ‘Hidden Name’ they also work physically together, going to Manor Farmhouse in Child Okeford to find there a piano, clarinet, cello, flute, trumpet, accordion, sitar, singing bowls, bells, voices, games and records, plus of course, being both dedicated lovers of field recordings, the surrounding itself. Afterwards the work was edited into what is now present on this CD, eleven tracks, and it damn hard to tell what is what here. There might be crackles of vinyl, or the squeaking of a door, but the vast majority is made up of densely layered patterns of recordings of the instruments. They are woven together in such a way that it is hard to tell what is what here.

However it seems that roles are this: Schaefer plays anything to do with field recordings and records and Mathieu’s part is playing the instruments, but also processing the latter inside the computer. Mathieu does what he does best: wave them together into a finely woven cloth of sound, that feels warm and cosy. Schaefer’s addition (or starting point, depends on how these things should be seen) works very well, it makes both a contrast to Mathieu’s work, but it’s at the same time it gets soaked into the music, and makes a natural companion. This is a major tour de force of eleven beauties. Great stuff from great minds.

Frans de Waard

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