Mathieu Ruhlmann – SOMNE (Taâlem)

Dronaement – FUER MUR (Taâlem)

Aube – POLE NORD (Taâlem)

Canadian artist Mathieu Ruhlmann builds his music from his own field recordings, adding layers of drones and less decipherable sounds from disparate sources. The results he obtains in Somne reveal a post-concrete, muffled, almost gothic ambience where everything seems to fall in its right place, maybe too much so. Sliding doors reveal a view over No-Man’s-Lands where frozen breath and abstract rumbling make way for nuclear wind and metallic resonance; amidst this obscure panorama, strange kinds of flying creatures try to converse with mechanical frogs escaping a polluted marsh. Though neither too unsettling nor overly innovative, this stuff is certainly well assembled and should certainly appeal to fans of Lustmord (ca. Heresy).

Arvo Pärt’s Für Alina is the basic material over which Dronaement develops Fuer Mur, a kind of cross between the softer sides of Brian Eno’s On Land and selected moments of Akira Rabelais’ Eisoptrophobia. Pianos are engulfed in long reverberations that make them glow in a faint, almost ill sunlight. Under the surface, whispered voices and what sounds like an engine add some much-needed dirt. “Immer da” is shorter and angrier, with a basic sequence of notes repeated by an analog synth progressively distorted and mutilated by ever more frequent discharges of piercing buzz. Not exactly groundbreaking but pretty effective if listened to in the right mood.

Akifumi Nakajima, aka Aube, is the mastermind behind the best of this batch of 3-inch releases on this French label specialising in dark ambient, hypnotic/concrete soundscapes. Pole Nord uses feedback as the sole sound source and is divided into four continuously running sections. Exploring extreme frequencies at both the lower and the upper ranges of human perception, Aube generates a stream of pulse and fluorescent hum that soon becomes quite nerve-wracking and destabilizing, but just when we are getting used to the abrasion, the third movement provides some respite from stasis with its lunatic patterns of crazed circuitry. Order, in a fashion, is restored in the final segment, in which feedback harmonics intertwine with more tranquil controlled investigations of space and disturbance.

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