MATHIEU RUHLMANN – As A Leaf Or A Stone

Afe

In addition to making music, Mathieu Ruhlmann creates visual art via the handling of found materials. In 2010’s As A Leaf Or A Stone – his second outing on Afe after 2007’s The Earth Grows In Each Of Us – he tries to orchestrate the best of two worlds, eliciting psychological symbolisms connected both to the domestic and the unexplained by taking household items and pushing their essence a step further. The list of sources is abundant, comprising – among other gadgets – egg beater, coffee grinder, frying pan, plastic tube, turkey baster besides a couple of standard instruments (as “standard” as an ukelin might be considered). In little more than 34 minutes divided in six tracks, the Canadian artist manages to convey a satisfying mixture of contrasting sensations between concrete and unfathomable, which was probably the original target.

No computers were used in the process, and – as far as the ears can tell – the basic sounds were just subjected to a slight processing. The typical traits of tampered semi-normality are all present: in particular, the bubbling liquids and the scrubbing on the objects link the memory to eminent fellow manipulators of retrieved organic matters (I’m thinking of Seth Nehil). However, Ruhlmann keeps things inside a warm universe where familiarity remains at the basis of the affirmative recognition of what’s heard. Will Long (Celer) expresses a cardinal truth in the press release: this record works because of the respect to the purity of the object that the composer shows. It is not too late to discover it.

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