Stephan Mathieu + David Sylvian – Wandermuede


Exactly 10 years after the original release of David Sylvian‘s “Blemish”, electroacoustic sound artist Stephan Mathieu reworks the original material into a fascinating new soundscape, presenting a different view still perfectly in line with the original material.

“Blemish” in itself was a fairly radical, experimental album, on which David Sylvian somehow broke with the past as well as combined all different things he had done before. The music soundtrack is mostly improvised drones created with Derek Bailey and Christian Fennesz, and Sylvian’s vocals are recorded so close they seem to resonate from within yourself.

Obviously, David Sylvian had planned doing a ‘Blemish’ remix himself, but invited Stephan Mathieu to do so after hearing him perform a live remix of the classic ‘Plight and Premonition’ at the Punkt Festival (Norway) in 2011.

Wandermüde(“tired of wandering”) presents a carefully balanced and detailed, (‘microscopic’) view of the ‘Blemish’ material (without the vocals). It is almost hard to believe that Stephan Mathieu does not use anything like multi-tracking and such – the result is created ‘live’, in a way that somehow resembles the original improvisational setting :

“My work with computers is always live. I’m feeding selected material into a software process and record the output, which I either take as is, or discard completely. I don’t multi-track, edit or re-arrange, I’m interested in self-evolving sound with all its rough and sometimes faulty qualities. I never use effects like artificial reverb in my music, so what you hear is rather a piling up of spaces that surround the individual inputs used for my processes.”

“With David’s recordings I melted them with my instruments, recorded several takes and picked the best ones. While I first processed the recordings quite heavily, it took me a while to notice that I come to better results when David’s performance shines through much more clearly. For instance with the original guitar from ‘Blemish’, I only applied a soft processing and made a room recording of playing this version back through two fender twin amps.”

As an interesting side-note it may be good to know that Sylvian is currently working on an app presenting his photography, backed by a ‘generative’ soundscape created from loops from this Blemish’/’Wandermüde’ material. Definitely looking forward to that of course… but even while waiting for that app, you definitely should not miss this beautiful release.

By the way: I found both albums gained another extra dimension when playing both of them together with the combined tracks in ‘shuffle’ mode.


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