cd ebb+flo – Francois Couture – 2003

Artist Kaffe Matthews
Album Title Cd Eb + Flo
Date of Release 2003

AMG REVIEW: Previous albums on Kaffe Matthews’ Annette Works imprint have chronicled her metamorphosis from violinist to sound artist in incremental stages, a climb toward a new sound. In comparison, cd eb + flo is a fully-rounded statement, a panoramic look from the plateau she has reached. All of the music presented on this double album has been reconstructed in the studio using recordings of performances where Matthews sampled and processed “a theremin, the room and its feedback.” The resulting music shares the purity of lines of the sonic architectures of Carl Michael von
Hausswolff and Richard Chartier. It also shows strong similarities with contemporary feedback artists like Toshimaru Nakamura and Sachiko M, but Matthews’ work constantly remains richer, more sensuous, and more playful than either of them. Plastic beauty doesn’t translate to asceticism on this album and that’s why it is so endearing. Disc one presents a carefully orchestrated sonic journey. It starts with very pure sine waves, builds up from track to track toward the central piece “Get Out More,” significantly noisier, and from there on drifts toward beat-anchored material. Disc two is more fanciful, taking the listener through quicker changes in moods and textures. The anticlimactic “Boy with Dog” is a marvel of flexible restraint, while “Dashes Five” shows what Merzbow could sound like if he’d clean up his act a bit. These pieces are so taking, the actual origin of the sounds rarely crosses your mind.

One of 2003’s best offerings in electronic sound art. — François Couture