Automatisme & Stefan Paulus: Gap/Void (Constellation, 2022)

June 2, 2022 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Automatisme & Stefan Paulus: Gap/Void

Automatisme’s third full-length on Constellation is a collaboration with Stefan Paulus, a Swiss writer, artust, and field recorder who has released several ambient albums on his own. Paulus recorded audio incorporating natural and musical drones, and Automatisme tore them apart and re-arranged them into beat-forward compositions, as well as more intense soundscapes. Opener “Säntis” starts out accumulating audio precipitation, then surges into broken, static-riddled beat patterns, sounding dubbed out then washed with lo-bit distortion. Then it all falls silent before roaring winds slowly take over. Then “Marwees” drizzles low, thumping kick drums with cloudy vibrations. “Üble Schlucht” has a steady pace but the beats themselves become frantic and bunched-up, only rinsing out near the end. “Blau Schnee” has a steady, upfront beat, and a gorgeous swirl of dub-techno echoes gradually takes shape. “Stoos” ticks along in 3/4 time, with maintaining steady propulsion as the additional, detached textures seem to get jostled around. “Wisswand” is a minimal industrial trudge, and it’s hard to tell exactly what the time sig is, the loops crumble to dust under the beats. “Schwarzhorn” and “Tothore” are both ambient pieces that blur natural sound together with shoegazey distortion. “Nob” throws all these elements in a pressure cooker, ending up with vibrating noise but boiling away the beat. “Wisshorn” feels like several storms superimposed, ending up like a dub vortex of gloom. The release could easily appeal to fans of the more ambient side of dub techno (beatless releases by Rod Modell and various Basic Channel affiliates) as well as sound artists like Daniel Menche, and of course Loscil and Gas.

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