Artist: Matthew Florianz
Label: H/S Recordings
Listening to ‘Maalbeek’ is like hearing the soundtrack for a car crash in slow motion. You can feel the metal slowly folding, the small pieces of machinery flying in the air. The strips of steel, the screws, and the small turning wheels with their glistening teeth puncture their way through the atmosphere. Glass creases to an unnatural angel and shatters and blasts like a myriad of strangely solid raindrops falling backwards into the sky. Tires erupt softly, with grave baselines, in a rhythmical manner they eject tiny pieces of dark rubber on the ground. A structured form, blessed with mechanical meaning and function, transforms into a new shape. Into material art. Softly and subtly, into a dream of destruction and freedom until there is nothing recognizable left except substance itself.
Sure, ‘Maalbeek’ is probably really based on the itinerary of the Dutch stream with the same name and I can imagine the ambient, rippling sound of Matthew Florianz’ record being a great soundtrack for the movement of water at night, under a sky full or stars and void of any moon. Or perhaps it has more to do with the blank practicality and beauty of letters used as symbols in the ‘Schemer’ programming language. Parenthesis, word, number, space in a language of uniformity and truth. Or better yet, ‘Maelbeek’ maybe simply portrays the sound of the mists in the darkness of the ‘Schlucht’. The calm of the shadows surrounded by other shadows. The lack of any restlessness in the homogeneous shadows, parted only at times by the innumerable droplets of water that are held in a low cloud. Maybe it’s the languid sounds, the almost imperceptible synths, the sometimes pulsating bass. Or perhaps it’s the surreal and detached ambient.
Mathew Florianz, after all, is no beginner. He started composing his trademark atmospheric music in 2001, and since then has released more than ten records, with ‘Maalbeek’ being his last yet. He works under no pressure, through his H/S Recordings, a small self sufficient label which seems to give its ambient, experimental and downtempo artists enough breathing space to create music of beauty and calm. It is extremely difficult to transform the immaterial into sounds. It becomes even more improbable that anyone can express this transformation into words. I have tried.