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   August; Snow; Pieces
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Igloo Magazine

Gareth Mitchell (a.k.a. Philosopher’s Stone) :: August; Snow; Pieces (CD on Absurd)

Three 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 of time.

Paris Transatlantic Magazine

Gareth 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.

Ampersand Etcetera

I will 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 minutes.
'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 and tone.
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.

Vital Weekly

(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)