Talvihorros & Matthew Collings
A Thousand Plateaus
This short four track EP, released on a limited edition 3″ CDr and digital download as part of hibernate Postcard series, collects pieces for Talvihorros and Matthew Collings‘ headline tour of September 2011. Fluctuating between incoming waves of sound and receding plateaus of silence, the duo experiment with contrasting textures, dynamics, and atmospheres. The growling bass falls back into stillness, allowing the distant echoing of a crow softly seep in. Lo-fi treatments are overlayed on acoustic instrumentation, at times in howling distortion, at times in beautiful bass clarinet sighs. In the past, Ben Chatwin has recorded under his Talvihorros moniker for Rural Colours, hibernate, and most recently Denovali Records, while Matthew Collings slowly began to pique my attention with his debut solo release, Splintered Instruments (Fluid Audio, 2013) and his project with Euan McMeeken, called Graveyard Tapes. On A Thousand Plateaus, the two musicians tease us with a 20-minute taste of their collaborative work, which was produced by bouncing ideas over the internet. I wish I could have caught this show live. Or better yet, perhaps the duo will think about releasing a full-length collaboration.

Sylvain Chauveau & Stephan Mathieu
In June of 2012, Stephan Mathieu launched his very own label – Schwebung. Created as a platform for distributing his own solo works, as well as collaborations, such as this one with Sylvain Chauveau, the label aims to please audiophiles with 250g vinyl and high-resolution 24-bit FLAC digital releases. Palimpsest appears on Schwebung as one of the very first pressings featuring vocals by Chauveau himself. That’s right, besides the precision-designed harmonically-rich drones, which are the result of Mathieu’s staple processing of acoustic instruments, ebowed virginals, phonoharp, and radio shortwaves, Chauveau sings on every single track, with lyrics written by Bill Callahan (aka Smog). The layers on Palimpsest at times appear to be disassociated from one another, as if the vocals have been hibernating beneath the ambient textures, only to reveal themselves when the outer core is carefully scraped off. Indeed, ‘palimpsest’ is a scroll page which the ancient Greeks and Romans reused for another manuscript, once the original writing has been washed off. But even after all the labor-intensive work to erase the past words, the page still contains all of its secrets. Just like the music of Chauveau and Mathieu.

Matthew Collings & Dag Rosenqvist
On another collaboration for hibernate recordings (it’s actually a third installment in the label’s Collaboration series), Matthew Collings meets Dag Rosenqvist (the very same Dag of the Jasper TX, From The Mouth Of The Sun and De La Mancha projects), for a twenty minute EP titled Wonderland. After a brief acoustic guitar introduction, the EP dives into an abyss of noise driven distortion and increasingly tense darkness. Yes, this is precisely the type of thick blackout that I love to spread lightly on my morning toast. “Precipice” is not apologetic. Inspired by a series of photographs of an abandoned amusement park in China (which, incidentally, Zoetica Ebb documented in her recently Kickstarter-funded project, The Secret Guide To Alternative Beijing), the duo explores the abandoned beauty of an industrial project, which once was supposed to bring smiles, and is now a skeletal ghost town of dreams. The music on Wonderland echoes this sorrow, as is literally evident in the last track, “Music For Dying Amps”. As usual with collaborations, the two amazing musicians bring their best skills to the table, creating a mixture of sounds they would not be able to muster alone. Stay tuned for my upcoming reviews of Matthew Collings’ Splintered Instruments (Fluid Audio) and Jasper TX An Index Of Failure (Handmade Birds).

Pleq + Philippe Lamy
Warsaw based (Poland) Bartosz Dziadosz has been pretty busy lately. Coming on to the scene in 2008, Dziadosz peppered labels such as U-Cover, Audio Gourmet, Progressive Form, Time Released Sound, Rural Colours and Constellation Tatsu with his sound as Pleq. In the process he managed to collaborate with a number of artists, including Segue, Spheruleus, Marihiko Hara, Lüüp, and now Toulouse based (France) Philippe Lamy. The latter has been making a name for himself with releases on Nowaki, Dronarivm, and now, dataObscura, on which we find this particular collaboration, titled Momentum. On the album, multiple field recordings are drowned in micro-glitches, slow evolving tones, and deep rumbling drones. Forgotten landscapes dripping with rain are enveloped with evil, which only reveal themselves through the sonic fog of found sounds. The fourteen-minute title track is a haunting exploration within the noir-fi genre, which is dominated with soul searching spirits like Black Swan, 36, Ingenting Kollektiva, and Kreng. The release includes remixes by mise_en_scene, Yukitomo Hamasaki, and Machinefabriek. Overall the album creates an unnerving experience (I mean that in a good way), and is recommended as background soundtrack to all of your late night agitations.