Efequén is a recollection of the geomorphological structure of the island of Lanzarote which I visited in March of 2010. During one week I had the opportunity to amass various sounds in different parts of this volcanic and arid land. My initial goal wasn’t to represent a pure or realistic sound map of this island, but rather to interlace it with my errancies during my time there. My intention was to transcribe the sonic sensation of this semi-arid wilderness surrounded by limitless ocean.

I built my score by assembling, merging and permuting the sound fragments that I had collected. I worked to reveal my personal aural perception of this delimited land, where volcanic activity is still underlying, where nature appears hostile but is under permanent reconquest.

In Arrecife, I spent several hours with my stereophonic microphone gear, recording crowd and human activity. The harbor was also a focal point where I had the opportunity to use my hydrophone setup.

Ciclos is a hybrid combination of sound elements from bubbling aquatic plants, a decaying metal bridge and aeolian effects on constructions.

Los Caletones is a specific sandy bay to the north of the island where I made a series of recordings from the action of the ocean ebb and flow on volcanic black rock.

Atlante del Sol is an abandoned hotel in the south area of the island exposed to the elements in the middle of lava fields. This sonic piece is built from debris and objects found cast up by the ocean.

El Golfo is a small locality on the southeast coast of Lanzarote close to Timanfaya National Park, a protected area. I achieved capturing the sound of black sand swell from the beach at El Charcos del Ciclos.

(Jérémie Mathes, January 2013)

Arrecife (excerpt):

Atlante del Sol (excerpt):

 

Reviews

A Closerlisten

Jérémie Mathes is upfront regarding the nature of Efequén. The album is not intended to be a “pure or realistic sound map”, but a series of impressions manipulated to create a blended work. In this instance, the field recordings were made on the remote island of Lanzarote, a location rich in natural resonance. The variety of sounds sparks interest in the listener, who becomes curious to discover their origins.
While the opening piece contains the sound of crowd noise, subsequent pieces concentrate on multiple natural and man-made environments. ”Ciclos” is immediately fascinating because the sonic combinations seem more random than happenstance might allow. After further investigation, one learns that the track is “a hybrid combination of sound elements from bubbling aquatic plants, a decaying metal bridge and aeolian effects on constructions”. That’s a mouthful, and the description implies that it may be a mess, but it’s not. The soundscape unfolds in distinct chapters, from trickle to buzz to metallic rush – never sudden, always blended just enough to ease the transition. The thicker passages even recall the work of artists such as eRikm and Zbeen, who incorporate factory noises in their electronic compositions. In fact, the very nature of Mathes’ constructions qualifies them for electronic definition; it’s just not what one is used to calling electronic music.
While some may prefer the “pure” to the “adulterated”, the field recording to the soundscape, a soundscape provides the opportunity to paint a fuller picture. Ironically, a processed work may say more about a specific location than an unprocessed work that tackles the same location, in that the latter treatment can only reflect its subject, while the former may operate in the realm of parable or paint. The phrase “sound painter” applies to Mathes, whose choices of what to include, what to discard, and what to combine bring to light an impression of an island that unfolds like a story. For example, a normal tourist might not wish to visit an abandoned hotel next to a beach littered with ocean-spawned debris; but Mathes makes the location sound enticing. His treatment spotlights the literal sense of a figurative statement: “That sounds like a place I’d love to visit”. Lanzarote might not sound as mysterious in person as it does on this album, but Mathes has just provided us with an alternative Lanzarote, one that is no less real because it is fabricated. (Richard Allen) a Closerlisten.

Vincent Capes

Les field recordings, comme les drones, peuvent être touchants. Mais pour ça, ils doivent être assez complexes pour à la fois capter l’attention totale de l’auditeur, mais aussi provoquer chez lui une certaine fascination, au-delà d’une contemplation passive, pour le retenir et lui dévoiler un ailleurs mystérieux.
Mais s’il y a trop de complexité dans cette musique, l’édifice s’effondre. Car toute cette musique tient intégralement dans cette fragile spécificité : la capture d’un réel qu’on s’approprie et qu’on manipule pour en garder simplement la substance et le faire accéder à un état supérieur sans en pervertir l’essence. Le sublimer et le révéler. En ça, cette pratique est profondément magique. Burroughs en savait quelque chose.
Jérémie Mathes utilise son enregistreur comme un canal médiumnique, faisant le pont d’un monde sonore à l’autre, simplement en agençant les sons. Il est passé maître dans l’art de traduire le visuel en auditif et inversement. Son travail absorbe l’auditeur et l’attire dans un univers subtil, où les bruits se transforment en musique méditative et se meuvent jusqu’aux bords de l’angoisse et de la mélancolie.
Jérémie Mathes s’intéresse aux textures sonores de l’environnement presque à un niveau moléculaire. En renonçant aux rythmes et aux mélodies, il donne naissance à un monde extrêmement dense, complexe, organique, d’une beauté abstraite et labyrinthique. Et bien qu’elle soit sensitive, intuitive et interne, cette musique n’a rien d’aléatoire. Par un jeu d’emboîtement précis des différents fragments, elle convoque la mémoire des lieux et affiche les stigmates des drames et des tensions qui sont déjà passées et ceux qui arriveront bientôt. (Vincent Capes)

Field recordings, such as drones, can be touching. But they must be complex enough to both capture the full attention of listeners and also arouse a certain fascination, way beyond just contemplation, to hold him and unveil some mysteries.
But if this music is too complex, the building collapses, because this kind of music is full in this fragile specificity: capturing the real, appropriating and manipulating it just to keep the substance and try to reach it on a higher state without perverting the essence. Reveal & sublimate it. In this way, this practice is deeply magical. And Burroughs knew it.
Jérémie Mathes uses his recorder as a psychic channel, bringing a sound world to another, just by rearranging sounds. He masters the art of translating visual in aural and vice versa. His work absorbs and draws listener in a subtle universe, where sounds become meditative music and move to the edge of anxiety and melancholy.
Jérémie Mathes focuses on sound textures of the environment almost at a molecular level. Renouncing rhythms and melodies, he gives birth to an extremely dense, complex, organic world and abstract labyrinthine beauty. And although sensitive, intuitive and internal, this music is not random. By a set of specific nesting of different fragments, it summons memory of places and shows the scars of tragedy and tensions that have already happened, and those which will come soon.

 

Tracklist:

Arrecife
Ciclos
Atlante del Sol
Los Caletones
El Golfo

Unfathomless is a micro publishing house & label proposing a thematic ltd CD series focusing primarily on phonographies reflecting the spirit of a specific place crowded with memories, its aura & resonances and our intimate interaction with it…