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CD Feature/ Mathias Delplanque: "L'inondation"

img  Tobias
On his third solo album, Mathias Delplanque reminds us that composing drones can be a lot of fun if you treat the process like gardening: Planting tonal seed on fertile ground, feeding them with creative manur, harmonic water and notational nutritions, protecting them from winds of distortion, rhythmic heat and the biting cold of stasis and watching them gradually grow into mysteriously beckoning sonic gardens, rich in resonance and with ripe aural fruit hanging from finely detailed branches.

This approach also implies that everything is a big experiment. On “L’inondation”, Delplanque uses the first of 47 minutes, originally commissioned for the VKS Gallery in Toulouse in 2005, to present his material: Ominous sheets of grey hiss, discreet planes of white noise, distant rumblings, close-up clicks, metallic resonances and airy breaths, familiar sounds and foreign semblances make for a bizarre and bipolar opening, marking time and floating freely.

Then, however, as if a mute bullet had escaped the muzzle of a silent starter’s gun, the elements start moving in a mitotic ballet, shifting, transforming, deforming and degenerating. A piercingly high-pitched tone buzzes like an electric razor and the background steamrollers to the fore. Noise suddenly takes on pitched qualities and harmonic movements fall apart into shardes of dimly controlled din. Links are forming between disparate events and the piece goes through haunting episodes of cramp-like fever convulsions.

Gradually, the music recomposes itself, shedding its nightmarish visions and slowing down its heartrate to a feeble pulse. At the end, the track is not that different from where it started, but every element seems calm and cool now, as “L’inondation” enters a phase of relaxed resignation. Far away, industrial machines are still pounding loudly, as if brutally breaking bodacious boulders into tiny fragments of stone, but they, too, disappear into silence, leaving the listener in a closely circumfined space of subtle sounds, all within his immediate proximity.

Delplanque has used recordings from the basement of his home as source material. Some of them are still recognisable as such, others have mutated into gargantuan proportions. Just as on “Ma chambre quand je n’y suis pas”, it doesn’t matter where exactly these noises came from, but what happens to them when the composer lets go. It’s an approach derrived from one of gardening’s most essential lessons: You can feed a plant with water, but you can’t make it grow.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Mathias Delplanque
Homepage: Mystery Sea Records

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