A little while back, with the release of German composer and musician Stephan Mathieu
’s sprawling 12 CD box set, Radiance, we predictably touched on the overwhelming ambition of such a thing - especially being as good it was. It was hard to imagine we’d be hearing from him again so soon. But here he is before us, issuing another incredible body of work - 8 CDs in total, under the title Folio
, on his own Schwebung imprint in an edition of 250. Our minds are bent. His ambitious heights never seem to never end.
While taking its name from one of it’s included works, Folio
, unlike Radiance
which can be understood as a single body of work, largely draws our ear toward the diversity of Mathieu’s output from the last five or so years. Importantly, these are all efforts which have yet to appear on CD, the majority having been - Sacred Ground, Nachtstucke, Before Nostromo
, released in 2014 and 2015 as downloads, joined by The Falling Rocket
, which was first released as a double LP in 2013. Folio has never before been issued in any form.
Mathieu is an artist of subtle and nuance - his work is bound to notions of time and expansive ambience - something which is conceptualized and executed in a multiple ways, generated through a vast range of sound sources - numerous acoustic instruments, found and appropriated material, especially 78rpm discs, electronics and field recording, stitched into a single body of sonic discourse. It is a body of work which feels incredibly cohesive - part of the same vision, yet, with careful listening, a vast amount range begins to emerge. This, in essence, is the crucial unveiling which the gathering of material represented within Folio allows us to catch sight of. Why the set is a must.
The five works, stretching over 8 CDs, presented with Folio, each, in very different ways, stitch their own sonic landscape - moving slowly from one place to the next - texture, complex sonority, structure, and gritty ambience extending outward toward an imagined horizon. From The Falling Rocket’s singular, dream like tones, created with farfisa organs, Hohner Elektronium and Radio, to Before Nostromo - the composer’s homage to the sound design for Ridley Scott‘s science fiction classic Alien, with its shimmering brilliance, realized as nine pieces for Piano, gongs, shortwave receiver, tape looks, and entropic process, the collection will inevitable elevate the understanding and love for Mathieu’s ambitious and diverse body of work. It is immersive, thought provoking, and incredibly beautiful.
Issued in a very limited edition of 250, we can’t recommend this one enough. Grab it fast before it’s gone for good.