“Hidden Name” reviewed by Boomkat

‘Two heads are better than one’, I think that’s how the saying goes, and it’s never been more appropriate than here on this devastating collaborative effort from two of the most respected ‘heads’ in experimental music. Stephan Mathieu has been chiselling out a name for himself on the ‘laptop experimental’ scene for a good few years now, giving some warmth and heart to an icy-cold genre, and Janek Schaefer has been equally as caring with the world of turntable-based drone, but it’s here where they finally come up with their finest and most perfect moment. ‘Hidden Name’ was recorded in the summer of 2005 at their friend John Tavener’s house in the rural south of England, and if ever a collection of music could represent a time and a place this is it. Although the sounds might be processed beyond all recognition for the most part, the dewy atmosphere of grassy Blighty permeates through every note; you can smell the buttercups and the apple trees, hear the rustle of a dog playing in the bushes and hear birds flying overhead squawking at each other angrily. Mostly made up of processed drones, using Taveners selection of instruments as source material along with a box of old records found in the attic, it is hard for me to believe how much emotion is compressed into such a traditionally avant-garde form. Maybe it might be down to the first time I heard the album – half asleep on a couch in Portugal having been deprived of rest for a good few days I was slipping in and out of reality with ‘Hidden Name’ as my spirit guide. The album became almost fused with my experience, and when the dense soup of drones broke in the middle to allow for peaceful environmental recordings before jumping into the final act it was like the heavens themselves had opened. This is an incredible record and easily one of the best of its kind – drone fans don’t sleep, you might not have seen this hyped all over the internet but my my it’s something truly special indeed. Essential purchase!

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