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CD Feature/ Matt Rogalsky: "Memory like Water"

img  Tobias

Results and intentions are not always the same thing, as any amateur cook can sadly testify. On a bad day, it can mean that an artist will not be able to make all sounds come alive the way he or she hears them inside his head. On a brighter note, it is the reason why “Memory like Water” has turned into such a singular and uniquely-voiced affair.

Upon a first, unattentive listen, the tracks contained on this album - yet another luxurious 2CD package from the stable of XI-Records - will clearly seem like minutely realised drone works, long tonal threads expanding into infinity and adversely poled frequencies exloring the vacuum opening up in between them. Matt Rogalsky, however, is not principally interested in “the drone” per se. He operates from a microtonal perspective, using software synthesis to analyse different recordings in real time, dissect them into their most elementary components.and then feed the newly created source material into various effect processors. If sustained harmonics are the result of this process, fine. But Rogalsky takes an equal stock in events on the level of the smallest of particles, enriching his soundscapes with fine hisses, crackles and palpitations or even basing entire composition on them – in effect shifting the listener’s perspective of what constitutes the focus of the music, the primary layer of consciousness as it were. Anything can be the starting point for these aural adventures – radio recordings, acoustic instruments or even songs taped by his brother Luke, with cut-up fragments of the original vocals surviving as haunting snippets into the new piece. Next to his fascination for self-built programs allowing him the kind of surgical precision which he elucidates in the exemplary liner notes, he also enjoys the direct live interaction with other musicians, such as on “Kash (violin)”, where his collaboration with Jane Henry leads to a subtle, surprising and sometimes exhilarated exchange.

Rogalsky likes to perform his compositions on stage and in everchanging constellations, which implies he is concerned more with certain fixed parameters at the outset rather than a definite outcome at the end: It is the intentions and what happens between the first and the last note that determin the result. By seeing his art not as rigid but as a continuing creative process, he has certainly added a new flavour to the experimental scene.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Matt Rogalsky
Homepage: XI Records

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