irr. app. (ext.)
Ozeanishe Gefühle
CD HMS 002

Paris Transatlantic
reviewed by Dan Warburton

The good people at Helen Scarsdale may well have a point when they rate this album (only the third by Matt Waldron after 1997's An Uncertain Animal, Ruptured; Tissue Expanding in Conversation on Fire, Inc. and last year's Dust Pincher Appliances on Crouton) as highly as The Hafler Trio's Kill The King and Nurse With Wound's Soliloquy For Lilith, but instead of bemoaning the lack of Waldron product on the market – and don't tell me the name "irr.app.(ext.)" has nothing to do with it – they should be standing at the top of Mount Tamalpais or whatever the nearest mountain is to San Francisco and blasting it out over a 60,000W PA because it's awesome.

Ozeanische Gefühle, which roughly translates as "oceanic feelings," was a term coined by Sigmund Freud to refer to a specific psychological state of well-being and connection to the world. According to an interview with Waldron on the Helen Scarsdale website, Wilhelm Reich, who Waldron lists among his "big five" influences (along with Robert Fripp, Steven Stapleton, Kurt Schwitters and Jim Woodring) "used the term to describe the natural state of every healthy organism: connected to and engaged with the world around it, with its energies flowing from the center outwards. This is in direct contradiction to the prevailing state in most societies: closed, anxious, and rigid, with energies directed inward." How Reich's work interfaces with Waldron's as a sound artist (he is also a talented writer and visual artist) is a subject as complex and rich as the music itself, a stupendous montage of processed recordings of acoustic and electronic instruments and field recordings. More impressive still than the sheer beauty of Waldron's sounds is the way he weaves them together into a coherent span of music lasting as long as a Beethoven symphony, building to a terrific climax just before the 25 minute mark, before subsiding into an eerie subaquatic Wurlitzer organ, and ultimately the delicate yet penetrating chime of prayer bowls and crotales, the creak of nocturnal insects and distant voices. Plus about a thousand other things – as is often the case, merely describing what's going on in the piece (not that it's all that easy to do) totally fails to prepare you for the listening experience. Nurse With Wound fans familiar with Waldron's skewed remix of NWW's mythic Chance Meeting album and keen to apply Steven Stapleton's description of his music as "surrealist" to Waldron's own work ought to read his comments on the subject first: "I think surrealism as a movement was a failure because it became Surrealism [..], another worthless dogma - and how could it have turned out otherwise?" Adding later: "What I do share with many Surrealists is the willingness to let intuition and accident play an active role in what I create." Maybe so, but don't be fooled into thinking this piece, and the shorter but no less impressive "The Demiurge's Presumption" that follows it, was cobbled together in an afternoon. It's the result of many hours of painstaking and loving work, and richly repays repeated listening. Buy up all available stocks as soon as you can and give the folks at Helen Scarsdale something to really trumpet about.