MATHIEU RUHLMANN – Gravity Controls Our Myths

A fascinating title introduces the latest outing by Canadian Mathieu Ruhlmann, who’s been active for many years in the sonic fields where fading memories, concrete elements and awareness of the impossibility of changing a life’s destiny meet, often with deeply affecting results. This is an ideal case in point, an impressive work where everything is more or less recognizable but we can’t really put a finger on what’s being listened to. Gravity Controls Our Myths diffused its fumes incessantly this afternoon: unobvious messages directed to the archive of consciousness that keeps discoloured postcards of mournful reminiscences inside, ready to be taken out as a certain scent or a particular reverberation emerge.

This music is like a sizeable rock held in the hands of a kid standing in front of a deep sea. You keep observing it under the sun and it’s a familiar enough object, then – once thrown down in the water – the contour gradually loses definition, rapidly becoming an unevenly blurred vision. The same happens with the sequences of images that Ruhlmann presents: they may be starting from the most normal activity – sounds that you’re sure of knowing, yet still don’t attempt to describe in fear of a poor figure. Human and animal components are definitely predominant – even the sighs emitted by an infant inserted amidst nocturnal faunas and all kinds of manual tampering, environmental and urban echoes and domestic banality functioning as magic powder for foggy evocations (“On The Fabric You Shine, Latern”, “Nest”).

Simple fragments of melody played on a slightly detuned piano are accompanied by a sort of indistinct chorale in “The Sea Of The Spirit”, among the album’s absolute tops, also shaped by additional natural materiality and distantly echoing drones that come and go from the mix. Such a kind of piece is what convinces me that this is one of the finest statements released by this composer, a reminder of individual vulnerability if we ever needed another. It surely deserves a responsive audience, comprising those who can appreciate the value of an open wound.

Semper Florens

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