I wrote my first review, it’s more kind of a description actually, of the album ‘A year of time’ by Matthias Puech.
Matthias Puech composes electronic music, designs musical instruments and explores the nature of computing and mathematics in a single artistic gesture. His music, a collection of contemplative stills of imaginary landscapes, is in major part composed on modular synthesizers and features unique experimental devices that Matthias creates. Being a research scientist by day, these delicate sonic landscapes draw their inspiration from the beauty of mathematical concepts and the physicality of natural and animal sounds. (source: https://hisolat.bandcamp.com/album/threshold)
‘A year in time’, released on 30th august 2017 on Hylé Tapes, is Matthias’ second album, after his debut ‘Threshold’ on the french label Hisolat Records. Firstly, I will describe how I experienced the four tracks on this release. Then i will make some comments about the album as a whole.
The first track, called ‘Spring’, begins with the soothing sounds of waves. A beautiful drone emerges out of the waves. Screams of seals in the distance. Rhythmic bubbles dancing around. The drone like chords changes tones. Fast bubbles of high pitch sound tickle your eardrums. The layers sound complex and simple at the same time. Peaceful and also restless. Like the sea, it’s surface is wild, but deeper down it’s static and still. Listening to this is an act of surrendering to the meandering paths the sounds take you to.
The second track, ‘Summer’, starts with a gentle deep vibrating tone, slowly changing it’s color. It reminds me a bit of a big church organ. Spacey sounds enter the soundscape and jump and bounce around, immersed in the bath of the continuous chord. (I picture a very warm day. The heat is deforming the visual field of the road at the horizon. Digital insects swarm in the thick yellow/orange/red air). The piece is constant in motion but has also a static, timeless feel to it. Towards the end is sounds like elastic things are being shot around in space.
‘Fall’ starts with separate tones, sounding as if a horn emerges out of a misty landscape. A rhythm develops. Short pulses stir to the surface. Again what sounds like seals to me are screaming in the background. There is lots of movement and change in this track.
‘Winter’. A little balls bouncing on a hard slippery surface. A cool winter breeze comes up. A bass pattern emerges to warm you up. Tiny squeezed vibrations. It gets chaotic and then calm again. We rest in a stream of warm sound. Scattered voices call us, unintelligible. Granular. Sweeping rhythmic sound. Unrest grows again, then the voices are getting softer and die away.
As by now hopefully becomes clear, I totally love this album! The different timbre’s are beautifully layered. It’s sounds synthesized but at the same time organic. There is some ghost in Matthias’ modular system that wants to be heard. There is lots of movement and tonal changes, and yet there is always that calm, richly colored and slowly moving drone underneath it all. I highly recommend to give it a listen, or two, or more. Laying on your back, let yourself be immersed in this wonderful world of sound Matthias’ has so delicately created.