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Stephan Mathieu – Coda (For WK)


Sometimes, smaller and quieter is better, is perfect. This slender little piece is 20 minutes exactly, a precise slab of (ahem) Lovely Drones that shows Stephan Mathieu at his serious, studied best. Beauty slowed down. The WK is legendary “quiet” pianist Wilhelm Kempff, whose 1927 recordings of Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 26 Les Adieux are used as some of the generative material here.

Mathieu’s process sort of sucks the DNA from the recordings, steals their soul and emphasises their tones, letting you hear history unfold. It really feels like he’s investigating the sound here, attempting some kind of forensic unpicking of where these sounds have been. His signature gramophone + laptop set-up works a little like Janek Schaefer or Phillip Jeck of course though is, if anything, even more composed (in all sense of the word) than those two. He doesn’t exactly flit, our Stephan and, like those other guys, it is this intensity that marks his work above the general mass of laptop droners. This is actually beauty rather than noise pretending to be beauty and it has power even at very low volume.


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