Posts Tagged ‘Mathias Delplanque’

Crónica 138 – 6th February 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Mark E Smith has died. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, the surprise should be that he didn’t die sooner. But I can’t help but be shaken by the news. It doesn’t feel appropriate to post any music reviews: my social media streams are aclog with tributes to Smith, and it feels wrong even to add to the noise. Part of me feels I should revisit a slew of the old favourites, but they’re so engrained in my mind, I don’t really need to hear them, especially not now.

And so I immerse myself in Témoins, the latest offering from Mathias Delplanque, whose work I’ve previously enjoyed. The three sections of Témoins (including the digital bonus track ‘TU)’ are a world away from the ramshackle three-chord stomps and lyrical derangements of The Fall: these instrumental works – sound collages laid over difficult hums and drones – present a very different kind of abstraction. And it reminds me, vitally, that life goes on. Music goes on.

The sparse arrangements – often, they barely feel like arrangements – are as much about space and silence as sound. The sounds – the whirrs, the drones, he hums, the hisses – are interrupted, disrupted, broken – by seemingly random elements. Birdsong, lowing cattle, slamming doors, clatters and bangs, thumps and crackles. These are amidst the irregular extranea which form the fabric of the material of Témoins.

The atmosphere shifts and moods emerge most unexpectedly from seemingly innocuous sound pairings and juxtapositions. Late in the second piece, ‘Bruz’, thin, tentative notes hover long in the air, needling the senses while unexpected bumps and knocks at close proximity are enough to make you jump. Muffled conversation carries on all around. Here, Delplanque expertly recreates the conditions and sensations of the anxiety of agoraphobia. It grows chill, and it’s difficult to not feel tense are wary. On ‘TU’ – by far the shortest piece running for less than ten minutes – a ghostly piano drifts into the damp air while scraping footfalls combine to create an unsettling, spine-tingling atmosphere.

With Témoins, Mathias Delplanque delivers an hour of understated yet quietly compelling ambient dissonance.



Warm – WARM#005 – 10th October 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

‘Our music is always created by the sedimentations of improvisations followed by a search for harmony – or even the erotic – between the layers of sound, voice and lyrics,’ they say. ‘We realise that to many ears we sound “experimental”, but we still consider our work o be a kind of chanson française.’ Ply is Mathias Deplanque and Guillame Ollendorff, artists with careers in their own right, drawn together after noted parallels between the albums they each released in 2001 provided a certain intersection which was cemented when they met in Berlin in 2011. Sans Cesse is the result of three years of work, which developed through a recording session with drummer Pierre Bougle, various setups of guitars recorded by Delplanque and a leisurely editing process slotting in the lyrics penned by Ollendorff and appropriated from a wide range of courses.

The album’s five tracks are mastered as two sides of vinyl, which bleed into one another and take the form of extended experimental passages built on long, low drones which gradually shift and evolve. The spoken word narratives are delivered in short declarations and in a smooth monotone. Sporadic percussion and quite swells of cymbal punctuate the turning trills of sculpted feedback, before a heavy bass note buzzes though crashing percussion, driving side one to a grinding crescendo: rock music dragged to a glacial crawl.

Side two escalates the tension: the title track begins hushed and ominous, ruptured by feedback and vocal effects before building through ‘Vers’ and ‘Lament’ to a dense rumble of dark, low-frequency guitar drone.

It’s this sense of progression, structure and linearity which evidences the consideration which has gone into Sans Cesse, and which shifts it into a bracket outside the purely experimental field. It’s clear that experimentalism and random elements were integral parts of the creative process, but it’s equally clear that the construction of Sans Cesse occurred post-recording. This is not a document of some spontaneous happenings committed to tape in the raw, but the product of considered and painstaking work and post-facto manipulation and reconfiguring. This is a work where order supersedes the random, where the chance occurrences which may have been part of the initial process have been assimilated and reconfigured for specific purposes.


Ply - Sans Cesse