Robert Hampson: analogue electronics, concrète sounds, guitar, piano-treatments; Stephan Mathieu: Farfisa VIP 233, eBowed Phonoharp, radio, percussion-treatment
Though extremely wealthy in breathtaking tones and reverberations, Main’s new album – seven years after Surcease, it’s been a life – is defined by an almost ascetic quality reflected in the accurate choices and placements applied by Hampson and recent collaborator Mathieu within a picture whose depth of perspective is parallel to that of the resulting sonority’s implications. We envisage the two proprietors of this acoustic limbo completely immersed in the process of revelation, eyes and ears totally focused on the subatomic events until a rewarding outcome is diffused across the research laboratory.
The first movement starts with wooden knocks and large-scale string tension to grow into a veritable quilt that would make many EAI practitioners spit bile; every crepitating subtlety is finely embedded in the textural framework, buzzing grumble and mind-cuddling chemical changes melted in unparalleled pulsating powerfulness. Already in “II” we observe the merciless signals and terrific impurity with which we were used to fall in blissful enchantment at the times of Hz, clustered particles finally disclosing some of the most riveting choral droning you may want to be surrounded by before crossing the borders of earthly being. The emotional impact is here at the uppermost level.
The record’s second half (“III”) begins with a cryptic aggregation of remotely “uttered” sonorities – perhaps heavily processed traces of voices coming from Mathieu’s radio – instantly overwhelmed by a monolithic accretion of sonic detritus switching the music’s temperament to the circuits of studio-generated doom. Dense vapors, reiterative vibrations similar to those of a motorized appliance left alone in a deserted factory, subsonic throbs pushing on the parietal bone. A frighteningly gorgeous physical entity, rare openings towards celestial vistas appearing like flashes of blue amidst a death-black sky.
The fourth and final chapter is a distillation of psychological tremors linked to the investigation of the unknown aspects of the self, underlined by a constant alteration of hues and frequencies inside a calmer, yet still perturbed milieu. More than pitches and gradations we could talk about luminescent liquids morphing in front of a huge uncommunicative audience: the entire human race, in eventual understanding of its absolute unimportance when compared to the immensity of sound.