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Stephan Mathieu, "Coda (For WK)"

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Originally an accompanying piece for the vinyl release of A Static Place, this afterward to that album utilizes the same archaic gramophones paired with computer processing approach, resulting in a similarly dynamic, understated piece of minimalist composition.


The WK in the title refers to Wilhelm Kempff, whose piano based recordings of Beethoven make up the original vinyl source material used to create this work.Opening with ringing, almost painfully shrill sounds, the dynamic nature of the piece become utterly apparent, as the pitch rises and falls, so does the volume, creating a constantly evolving, although distant and cold, piece of music.

The movement is slow throughout Coda's 20 minute duration, emphasizing mostly sustained and stretched out tones, and occasionally a bass-heavy rumble surfaces to act as a counterpoint to the otherwise bright sounds.The latter half especially is bathed in a gauzy, white noise glow that semi-obscures melodies below.Towards its end, the piece seems to take on a darker, bleaker hue before ending on the same type of clean and pure sounds that opened the disc.

While Coda is somewhat slow, its pacing works perfectly for its meditative, carefully unfolding sound.Moments may be somewhat disconnected or bleak, but never off-putting.Regardless of the mood conveyed, Mathieu's work always channels a complex beauty that may not always be delicate, but is always effective and compelling.