Despite there being a glut of new or newish labels devoted to short-run CDR’s (myself included), there are a number of worthy contenders out there whose output deserves further investigation..old timers like Con-V and and/OAR set about their business in just such a manner, and I have witnessed their growth and evolution in the last few years into something more substantial and “important” in terms of their overall contributions, and such growth demands wider audiences, and of course, wider distribution.
Mystery Sea, run by Belgian experimentalist, Daniel Crokaert is one such label, now enjoying nearly 50 releases, it can hardly be said to be “young” when measured by its back catalogue, but is still in early stages with the development of its roster, and selection of artists, some of whom may be familiar, and others just breaking through. Artists such as Mnortham, Dale Lloyd, Aidan Baker and Troum have graced the label with their presence, lending the label an air of seriousness, and commitment to the scene.
Mystery Sea have sent forward three fine releases by figures whom I must confess, I have not heard of before, but whose work nevertheless is worthy of the label’s ever growing profile. Housed in uniform covers, with a stark, almost industrial patina of decay, the three releases, “ee[nd] by Kassel Jaeger, “L’inondation” by Mathias Delplanque, and “aboideau” by Nahvalur, are beautifully deployed, and technically brilliant. Jaeger’s work is edgy and tense, with visceral sounds in abundance, aural close-ups of decay and degradation. Jaeger, a French sound engineer, works his pieces gently, conjuring up sinister atmospheres, and corrosive ambiences that quake and flutter around, verging on the edge of chaos and breakdown, but never quite making that transition, remaining in the “sweet spot” in between, to create epic, and gargantuan edifices of sound, reminiscent in places of a hybrid of Lustmord and Das Synthetische Mischgewebe..fine stuff.
Next we have another Frenchman, Mathias Delplanque, whose works under various pseudonyms and project names see this mulit-faceted artist exploring a range of territories, that encompass both his classical training, and more experimental, and marginal sides. Here on L’inondation, we see exhibited a mastery of dark atmospherics, and I mean dark in the sense of densely populated, rich textural pieces, rather than the doom-laden affairs perpetuated by the dark ambient school. Essentially, this is a recording of an installation piece that took place at the VKS gallery in Toulouse in 2005, a dimly lit space, where Delplanque’s shimmering atmospherics resonated the very fabric of the building, a powerfully evocative piece that is rich and reverberant at it’s core, with various activities booming around the sonic spectrum,, odd incidents and occurences, curious knockings and drippings that draw us into a mysterious and somewhat intriguing [if slightly unsettling] world.
Nahvalur treats us to what amounts to a dronescape, but this is no ordinary dronescape, as it is beautifully and subtly handled, with a gentility and resonance that lures me in to its wake. On “aboideau” Nahvalur (a teaming up of two artists, Alexandre Rito and UK based Matthew Ellis) appear to be seeking out a new, arcane language with which to communicate. Infused with subtle resonances and interplays of harmonics and cross-phasing, aboideau experiments with the medium of drones, panning them around the audio spectrum, and creating swirling, luminous presences, vast cavernous pieces that then drift into the ether, metaphysically re-connecting on some other plane.
Overall then, Mystery Sea offer us intelligent drones, mysterious and otherworldy ambiences, and shimmering experimentalism..in relatively short runs of 100, an eager listener would be advised to connect quickly with this very fine label. Highly recommended.BGN