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sylvain chauveau & stephan mathieu - palimpsest (12inch vinyl lp)


ARTIST // sylvain chauveau & stephan mathieu
LABEL // schwebung (de)
CAT // schwe001lp


For a moment "Palimpsest" begins just as you thought a Sylvain Chauveau and Stephan Mathieu album would: with hovering waves of sound, creating a drone somewhere between a time-streched orchestra and the endless echo of a struck bell. Then a voice enters – clear, uneffected and high in the mix. The approach is striking and seems to approximate what David Slyvian singing atop a processed La Monte Young recording would sound like. There is no rhythm or pulse and no attempt is made to tether the words and vocals of Chauveau (which were recorded by Stars of the Lid's Adam Wiltzie) to Mathieu's resonant drones. Instead, they provide a unique and alluring counterpoint to each other and give "Palimpsest," which is the first release on Mathieu's new label, Schwebung, a number of highlights. The best moments include the buzzing lattice of chord organs, sine waves and ebowed strings on "I Break Horses" and the soft washes of static that gently flow around lyrics of loss on "Wild Love." – Ryan Potts, Experimedia
Vinyl Edition: LP + 24Bit FLAC download. 500 Copies, DMM cut, audiophile grade vinyl, gatefold sleeve.

Sylvain and I started discussing an instrumental album when we met for the first time in 2009. During 2010 I made recordings for this project, using the instruments I'm having in the house – a piano, spinet, Farfisa organ, zither, french horn, cymbals, as well as recordings of a viol quartet I had written in 2008. This material was arranged and reprocessed then, resulting in my usual abstract soundscapes. To my surprise, once Sylvain heard the tracks he came up with the proposal to add lyrics of some of Bill Callahan's classic Smog songs instead of further instrumental voices.

I'm still amazed by how he had heard this potential in the pieces, how he placed Bill's lyrics there, especially since my original material is used for the album as is, without further changes or editing. It is exciting for me to hear my sound in this context, the way how things suddenly start to fall into place. Instead of being classic cover versions, Palimpsest is much more rooted in the tradition of the exquisite corpse.

With thanks to Bill Callahan and Rian Murphy /Drag City

Sylvain Chauveau: vocals
Stephan Mathieu: ebowed Phonoharp and virginals, viols, piano, french horn, cymbals, Farfisa organ, radio, processing
Extra audio on Your Wedding by Jeff Witscher

Vocals recorded by Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie,
engineered by Bernhard Götz
Analog mix engineered and mastered by Henner Dondorf
DMM transfer by Hendrik Pauler
Design by Caro Mikalef for Cabina

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