Monday, June 12, 2017

Sounds of the Day #155/2017: RADIANCE SERIES I-XI: Stephan Mathieu, France Jobin, Peter Söderberg (6)

Stephan Mathieu - RADIANCE Subscription Series 12CD Box + Digital (2016)

Stephan Mathieu / Peter Söderberg RADIANCE I: ALAP FOR STEEL NEEDLE, RECORD AND THEORBE (2016)

The first part in the RADIANCE Subscription Series goes back to a concept that fascinates me for several years now – the interpretation of early music in a spectral style. Between 2010-2011 I had worked in a quartet with Che Chen, Robbie Lee and Jozef van Wissem on a presentation of Josquin des Prez’ songbooks where we’d pick an tonal skeleton from one song to build a sustained version around it by searching for its harmonic essence and arrange it for a performance on period instruments. The search for an essence of a material is fundamental to my work since computers became my main instrument during the late 90s. All my releases are about this inherent something, and RADIANCE Vol.I is the first album featuring an acoustic representation of this idea. When Florien Sievers, curator of Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin asked me for a piece to perform during their POP 16 festival (April 2016), dedicated to the first 100 years of pop music, I picked up threads of the aforementioned notion by proposing an hommage to early music pioneer and instrument maker Arnold Dolmetsch, who has recorded a handful of groundbreaking 78rpm records with performances realized in a historically informed manner during the late 1920s. By that time they where regarded as a curiosity. For this piece I found a great partner in Stockholm based lutenist Peter Söderberg. He plays the theorbe (also known as theorbo), a Late Renaissance instrument from the lute family that features an extended bass range. The theorbe became an integral part of the continuo group in Baroque music. One of Dolmetsch’s recordings served as a tonal grid. As a foundation I created several tape loops based on integral harmonies from a piece he performed with his family for the Columbia label, Thomas Weelkes’ Fantasy for a Chest of Six Viols. Peter and I decided on a selection of pitches based on this historical recording and worked on them independently of each other before we met for two days of rehearsals in Berlin. After the premiere we made recordings in my hotel room, which were edited for the release in my studio afterwards.The virginals were played with 5 ebows, Peter utilized a handheld fan to create a spectral drone on the theorbe. The tape loops are played back in the far background and subtly interact with the sound of our acoustic instruments, a soft modulation which creates an extention to the certain pitches, causing what sounds like a quiet wonderful natural reverb. A mix of the tape loops and a transcription of the historical performance by the Dolmetsch Family is included as complementing material with this release.

Stephan Mathieu / France Jobin - RADIANCE II: MUSIC FOR THE ANSWER (2016)

For mechanical-acoustic gramophones, 78 rpm records and equalizer . «Aus des Weltalls Ferne funken Radiosterne Pulsare und Quasare» Kraftwerk, 1975


Dedicated to the work of Hieronymus Bosch --- Taking inspiration from an alternative reading of the closed view of Bosch’s triptych ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’, where the scenery is not interpreted as the third day of Creation, but shows the world after the Deluge instead. The frame is arranged as a window that can be opened to offer another, deeper view into the world’s past. «The wrath of God resembles a rainbow of moonlight. As Aristoteles has mentioned, the colour of a moonbow is white.» Giovanni di San Gimignano: Summa de exemplis ac similitudinibus rerum, 1314 

Stephan MathieuRADIANCE V: FOR FRANZ WRIGHT (2016)

Stephan MathieuRADIANCE VI: KEPLER (2016)
An entropic system for piano and loudspeakers imitating the planets orbiting the Sun . Dedicated to Johannes Kepler, December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630. Recorded in October 2016 at Galerie Martin Wikström, Bad Godesberg 

Stephan MathieuRADIANCE VII: Process (2017)

A consort of viols transferred to four double sided 78rpm acetates for playback with four mechanical-acoustic gramophones. For this version the dubplates were played on three portable Lenco turntables with speed variations of 45, 33 and 16rpm while using their primitive tone and volume controls and speakers for a live mixdown. Process is dedicated to Petar Milat who commissioned the piece in 2008 for the 25th Zagreb Music Biennale. Stephan Mathieu – Treble Viol, Alto Viol, Tenor Viol, Bass Viol .78rpm normal groove acetate cut by Andreas Lupo Lubich

An interpretation of Earle Brown’s seminal graphic score "December 1952", commissioned by the Earle Brown Music Foundation, New York in celebration of the composer's 90th Birthday. “… to have elements exist in space… space as an infinitude of directions from an infinitude of points in space…” EB

Stephan MathieuRADIANCE IX: FELDMAN (2017)

An entropic system for percussion, strings and loudspeakers, commissioned by the Earle Brown Music Foundation, New York in celebration of Morton Feldman’s 90th Birthday. “Decay, however, this departing landscape, this expresses where the sound exists in our hearing – leaving us rather than coming towards us.” MF 


A re-narration of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 movie ‘Vampyr’.with Olga Politova - Piano , Sylvain Chauveau - Guitar //// The beginnings of the album date back to 2004 when I was invited to perform a live score for Vampyr at the Louvre in Paris. I started making recordings with classical trained pianist Olga Politova whom I asked to play some variant forms of Clara Schumann’s Nocturnes for me, for instance by playing selected chords in extreme slow motion with the sustain pedal held down, or harmonic movements as frozen clusters using strumming techniques. By the same time I started using shortwave radio as a live input for my processing techniques, so I've created various long tracks by modulating Olga’s playing with random radio input. Back then I didn't understand the resulting pieces and since the Louvre performance soon got cancelled, I've shelved the material until Winter 2015 when I rediscovered Dreyer’s movie and decided to work on the music again. While I had initially planned to create a synced score to play along with the Criterion edition of the high-definition transfer from the 1998 restoration of Vampyr, Radiance X eventually contains a series of sonic images from the film as well as portraits of the three main female characters. In addition to the aforementioned piano recordings I used the 10" record of the Hollywood String Quartet’s performance of Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht and guitar recordings made by Sylvain Chauveau. Radiance X has a deliberate sonic edginess, so in some parts you will hear a soft harmonic clipping or out of phase content. As always, I recommend to download a lossless version of the music. Her Dark Gaze Drowned in Light is dedicated to Maryanne Amacher.


Music with Magnetic Strings is dedicated to Alvin Lucier