‘Transcriptions’, a collaborative work by Stephan Mathieu and Taylor Deupree, contains 8 tracks of music that is both historic, decayed, angelic and revolving, while also existing in warmth, purity, and transcendence through acoustic instruments, and vintage synthesizer.
Delving deeply into the history of the earliest recording methods through mechanical phonographs, Stephan Mathieu created a method using wax-cylinders, the predecessor of records, as well as 78s, which have a larger frequency range, to create his music through playback of these pieces of musical history. With a setup consisting of playing the cylinders through two portable gramophones, and then sending them directly into the computer by microphone, Mathieu was able to record the sounds, and perform software processing in realtime, rendering a resulting flow of deteriorated angelic elegance, decomposed beauty, and reborn awakenings.
From this result, Taylor Deupree worked with the recordings, adding acoustic instruments and vintage synthesizer; adding-to, while still maintaining the physicality of the 78s, opening the range of the tracks through unalloyed analog contributions. Upon first listening, it might be thought that the contributions of Taylor Deupree were merely additions to original material, but when listening further, once the music has breathed openly, it can be heard actually how much the cylinder recordings of Stephan Mathieu shape the open pathways of Deupree’s acoustics, allowing for a breadth of incredible range. Not merely a compliment, but a modern counterpart.
Through nearly 48 minutes of music, self-described as warm and enveloping, these sounds represent the pivotal movements of the unique, the saturated, and the exploratory, all colliding in what may be sometimes a wave of revolving fuzz, swirling melodies of the supernatural and the human, the delicate echoes of single revolutions, and gentle plucks of the guitar. It is both a conversation, and a translation of both sides. Transcription, after all, means notating the unnotated.
The result of the century-apart sources combined with the methodology and talent of these two leading experimentalists creates an immutable, impressing magnetism, while still balancing so gently on the vibrations of the decayed, and the frail humanity of the past.