Stephan Mathieu
“On Tape”

Häpna H.18, CD
1 track, 32 minutes
Listen to: “On Tape” (excerpt)
Reviews of “On Tape”
Release date: September 2004

Stephan Mathieu is an electronic musician from Saarbruecken, Germany. Starting out as a drummer in various improvised contexts he made the switch to working mainly with computers in the late 90’s. Since then he has released a string of highly acclaimed recordings on labels like Ritornell and Orthlorng Musork. From his interest in design and work with installations he has acquired a fine-tuned sense of form. His music is mostly based on acoustic instruments but so far they have always been more or less heavily computer processed. “On Tape” is a pivotal work for Mathieu as this is the first time we hear him leaving his source material unprocessed by digital means.

Stephan started building this piece from recordings provided to him by Swedish trio Tape and saxophonist Magnus Granberg. Adding his own subtle drumming, field recordings and a focus on reworking the sound material exclusively with classic editing techniques this is a beautiful album that weaves elements from the electronic and acoustic worlds to a seamless whole. A very clear and uncomplicated atmosphere around this piece distinguishes it from a lot of electronic music.

Tracks: 1. On Tape

“While his previous electronic work, including his notable collaboration with Ekkehard Ehlers on Heroin, often sought - consciously or otherwise - to disguise the acoustic origins of his source sounds through heavy processing, On Tape is touchingly direct, building its textures through simple superposition rather than complex processing. Mathieu layers Granberg’s sustained saxophone tones into subtly shifting minor sixth drone and accompanies them with tiny flurries of percussion, delicate metallic ricochets - think Michael Zerang meets Burkhard Beins - and his incorporation of field recordings from insect buzzes to birdsong and children’s voices blurs the distinction between live and prerecorded, raw and untreated, acoustic and electronic in the same way that Häpna’s typically elegant cover photography plays on the ambiguity between inside and outside.”
Dan Warburton, The Wire

“This is a very strong and evocative work, one that captures the listener without question.”
Roel Meelkop, Vital Weekly

“[...] när det (On Tape) är slut vill man uppleva det igen. Och sedan igen. Och sedan vill man uppleva det ytterligare en gång. Det här är inte musik - det är en installation. Det är en installation för dem som vill leva med musiken i stället för att söka snabba mp3-hitskickar.”
Rated 9/10, Billy Rimgard, Sonic

“Stephan Mathieu balanserer perfekt midt mellom pop og avantgardisme.”
Rated 5/6, Mats Johansen, Panorama