Live at Quendel
August; Snow; Pieces
Mitchell (a.k.a. Philosopher’s Stone) :: August; Snow; Pieces
(CD on Absurd)
tracks, thirty minutes, in a limited edition of only 141 copies!
What Greece's Absurd offers the few who have access to it, is a
complete suspension of linear sound. Gareth Mitchell has created
an apocalyptic sense of atonal ambience that distills immediate
gratification with silent tension. Tiny icy tones replicate, divide
and detach from the center in a informal dance that leaves much
to chance and surprise. Though after a bit, a rhythm starts forming
as the repetition leads way to more minimal, singular high-pitched
tones. There is magic in the music, but it is also inherently distancing.
What is being said here seems somewhat parenthetical, or is like
some random scan of the pages of Mitchell's aural journal. The final
track is six minutes of electronic bliss and angst superimposed
upon each other as if it were a space missionary lost in the cavity
Paris Transatlantic Magazine
Mitchell - aka Philosopher's Stone, whose Kranky releases are well
worth checking out - offers three pieces on "August; Snow;
Pieces", the first a tantalisingly mysterious assemblage of
crackles, glitches and treated sound sources whose fragmented, pockmarked
surface recalls Kevin Drumm's work with Ralf Wehowsky on their recent
Selektion outing "Cases". The second track (am I right
to refer to this as "Snow", or is "August; Snow;
Pieces" the title of the album alone?) is more continuous and
patient exploration of bell-like sonorities. If you do happen to
nod off, the final track will rip your ears back into life for sure.
take the parts of Mitchell's album title as the three track names.
As such, 'August' is a difficult opener – it is very difficult
to listen to as tiny crackles pops and scratches alternate with
loud thuds and scrapey cycling, puttering and metal twangs. You
turn it up to listen and then bang, your ears go. But only a few
'Snow' is the long centrepiece. It has two main parts – the
first is a gradual accumulation of percussion and percussive sounds.
Little bell-like noises gradual building in volume and density with
a cycling behind get stretched into a buzz tone, developing a groove.
Deep reverbed ringings behind, escape and take over filling and
encompassing the sound space. Resonances and echoes build as more
ringings are woven in, sounding like various treated percussions.
It becomes a steady burring with pulses, then falls to a looping
sequence that sounds like a strummed series of xylophone keys that
slowly fades away. Then a soft whispering builds as a tingling drone
with a fuzzy tone and high organ-like element, resonant deep tapping
and clipping drip sounds. The drones fade to a climax of the chimey
tapping with a hissing main, before the last couple of minutes as
a ringing buzz drops to a very quiet ringing that briefly varies.
Then 'Pieces' – short again opening with a chirruping of loud,
high pitched crickets that zoom around shouting harshly, a touch
musical at times. It gradually draws back from the edge, becomes
less fractured and settled with long tones, hollow sounds, soft
fuzz click, building to a cycling noise before fading to a crackle
The album strikes a difficult balance, with the two more aggressive
pieces bookending the longer, more flowing piece – but it
does achieve that balance and poise.
MITCHELL A.K.A. PHILOSOPHER\\\'S STONE - AUGUST; SNOW; PIECES
(CDR by Absurd)
Philosopher\\\'s Stone have come a long way from the Kranky album
to this. Former member of AMP Gareth Mitchell produces an album
of post rock for Kranky, but in the last two or so years, he moved
to using laptops to create a much more experimental kind of music.
On this new CDR with three pieces, the first and the last, are really
quite radical laptop doodlings. Cracklings, noise, plug ins running
amok. It's the sort of thing the uniniated might except (and maybe
those who know too). The nicest piece on this CD is 'Snow', the
second or middle piece of the release. Lengthwise it's the longest
with it's twenty minutes. It starts out really slow, but then looped
insect like sounds drop in and as the piece evolves, the whole is
lifted and thick layers of what seems to me bell sounds are created.
Drone music but then much more in the areas of digital sound processing.
This is the stuff I think Gareth should be doing more and leave
out the quasi composed pieces of randomized sound events. The cover
certainly fits the idea of the 'Snow' more then it does for the
other pieces. (FdW)