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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New Release: Ifs’s “Manifold Basketball”

Manifold Basketball includes four tracks that focus on the connection between sound and different types of space, between the close and distant locations, using for this purpose a spectrum of reverbs and – often strongly modified – field recordings. These reverberations were modulated and treated in such a way as to give the impression of being in contact – if possible – in several spaces at the same time or in a space that is endlessly changing.

Ifs is a project by Krzysztof Ostrowski (Freeze) and Mateusz Wysocki (Fischerle).

Krzysztof Ostrowski is a musician, producer and instrumentalist from Bydgoszcz, most frequently associated with a broadly defined electronic scene. Many sound-related experiences contribute to his artistic activity: music education, years of music production, audiophile passion and even regular performances in a military band. He moves through various music areas, such as techno, experimental, ambient, dub, jazz, kraut, improvisation. His extensive set of instruments and broad artistic imagination are his identifying marks. He acts solo, as the audiovisual duo Soundscape Mirror (with Tom Skof), and in other configurations usually related with Bydgoszcz’s alternative scene and the club Mózg.

Mateusz Wysocki is a musician and producer whose diverse creative interests include electroacoustic music, prepared field recordings, dub techno, instrumental hip-hop and radio drama. His sound installations were presented in Poland, Greece, Ireland, USA, Italy and several other countries. He regularly collaborates with Lech Nienartowicz (as Porcje Rosołowe), Michał Wolski (as Mech), Łukasz Kacperczyk (as Bouchons d’Oreilles) and Micromelancolié. In addition, he has improvised / recorded with : Jakub Pokorski, Robert Niziński, Jacek Szczepanek, Filip Kalinowski, Ryszard Latecki, Janek Ufnal, Adam Frankiewicz, Zofia Chabiera, Natan Kryszk, Konrad Gęca, Tomasz Wegner, Łukasz Podgórni, Jacek Mazurkiewicz, Bartek Kalinka, Wojtek Kwapisiński, Wojtek Kurek, Miguel A. Garcia, Sebastien Branche, Freya Edmondes, Bogumiła Piotrowska, Héctor Rey, Rudy Decelière, Ilia Belorukov, Rinus van Alebeek. Together with Lech Nienartowicz he runs the cassette label Pawlacz Perski. Mateusz is also the author of the children’s books “Skrytki” and “Las Zabaw”, with illustrations by Agata Królak.

“Manifold Basketball” is now available to download or stream from Crónica, Crónica’s bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify, and other venues.

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Soon in Crónica: Ifs’s “Manifold Basketball”

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Tarab + Artificial Memory Trace’s “Obex” reviewed by Chain DLK

Sonic experimenters Slavek Kwi (Artificial Memory Trance) and Tarab have engaged in a kind of cultural exchange whereby they provided objects and activity sounds to one another, irregularly transforming them into amended sonic products that would then be recycled into other noises. The result is a hard-edged, heavily-processed hour long collection of processed noises, often metallic, hard, percussive and deep, sprinkled with glitches, crackles and breathing noises.

Many of the 14 tracks are just short interludes that sound like messing around with a sound effects library, but there are three much longer pieces that give this cassette a solidity. “Entimorf 3”, at 17 minutes long, is a piece of many stages, a dynamic collection of rumbles and industrial surprises that at times opens up into hollow spaces with rolling lava-like rumbles, where metallic bends and stretches are morphed into something that almost sounds like pining wolves.

“Transform 1” seems to revel in harshly counterpointing two environments, one akin to a forest where trees are being felled distantly, the other a heavy industrial space with overwhelming pneumatic power.

Final track “Lampsh” follows a slightly more trodden noise path with reverberent tones and deep EQ’ing giving everything an underground feeling, with sharp and rapidly cut hits and bangs giving a sense of panic and claustrophobia.

Some of the shorter pieces are not quite so short, “Transform 2” for example a slightly more sci-fi five-minute development of “Transform 1”, “Transform 2B” four more minutes of the same material sources rustling tighter and closer..

Overall “Obex” has a raw, gritty quality to it that’s reminiscent of some of the darker sonic experiments of the 60’s and 70’s, delighting in its own avantgarde harshness. It’s a release that will particularly appeal to experimental enjoyers of sounds with a more distinct physical pedigree. Stuart Bruce

via Chain DLK

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