[reviews] afe123lcd
mathieu ruhlmann: as a leaf or a stone

vital weekly []
newsletter, the netherlands, may 2010

Mathieu Ruhlmann is of course someone whom we know from his releases on Mystery Sea, Spekk, Unfathomless, Taalem, Gears of sand and many others. "As a Leaf or a Stone" is his second album for Afe Records.

For this release Ruhlmann uses a lot of sound sources and per track he lists them. We see listed a coffee grinder, ukelin, e-bow, moss, denture cleaner, bubble wrap, dried plant, cactus, speaker and gate (and that's just the opening track!).

He plays these sources, records them and layers them together, at least that's assuming he doesn't play all these sources with two hands at the same time. He records them, I guess, with contact microphones and an open microphones.

The gain is very much alive here, so there is occasionally some feedback leaking through here. That adds a strange component to the highly acoustic music.

Ruhlmann plays his stuff with great care. His music is open, spacious, but also intimate. The quiet rumbling of objects, the leak of outside sound events on the recording (as opposed to pre recorded field recordings) reminds me of Jeph Jerman or Kapotte Muziek, although Ruhlmann's plate is a bit more filled with sound than the latter.

An excellent release of highly imaginative music.

[Frans de Waard]