Automatisme & Stefan Paulus
CST164 180gLP • CD • DL
Release date: 20 May 2022
Gap/Void is the first collaborative full-length album by Automatisme (the Canadian musician and conceptual artist William Jourdain) and Swiss field recordist, ambient musician, visual artist and writer/academic Stefan Paulus. Jourdain and Paulus first met through shared projects with Mille Plateaux/Force Inc, each contributing to the Ultrablack Of Music anthology and Paulus going on to make several videos for Automatisme tracks issued by the two labels.
In early 2021, Paulus approached Jourdain with a proposal based on his field recordings made during numerous mountain expeditions in the Swiss Alps, the Caucasus, and north of the Arctic Circle—documenting stormy weather, high alpine winds, avalanches, and sounds emanating from glaciers and from the insides of crevices and caves. Paulus created ambient noisescapes from these recordings by splicing and folding them into hundreds of layers of sound: an analog to the geological strata of their geographic sources. The resulting audio mixes, compounding a multiplicity of spatio-temporal excursions, were then further encased in drones using the natural tone series (the traditional zäuerli or wordless yodels of northeastern Switzerland), the monotonic standing drone of Lamonte Young’s Dream Syndicate, and the mass chords of early 1970s Kosmische Musik as points of reference. Paulus sent these extended ambient/noise pieces to Jourdain as source material for the latter’s bespoke Automatisme techniques, where variable tempo and glitch systems forge more overt minimal techno/IDM works.
Gap/Void leads with five rhythmic tracks (cut to 33rpm LP) that feature Automatisme’s trademark interstitial digital synthesis and elastic/erratic signal processing, in combination with his own crate-digging ‘expeditions’ through obscure 1970s-80s disco 12-inches, deconstructing their scores and structures to bring these micro-samples and sensibilities back to bear on Paulus’ deterritorialized sedimental source material. Five additional tracks are selections of the original ambient/drone works by Paulus, with granular reprocessing by Automatisme. (All 10 tracks are contained on the CD/DL and provided with the vinyl LP download card.)
A stylistic touchstone for the duo was to imagine tracks that might have surfaced twenty years ago on Chain Reaction; more specifically and conceptually, Gap/Void intends to resubstantiate the ambling, adrenal trajectories of Paulus’ original mountain climbs, and channel the sensation of jumping over a gap into the void. The album accomplishes this mission, framing its wider context of psychogeographic research with the five ambient ‘source’ tracks—along with Paulus’ pinhole camera mountain images in the album artwork. Gap/Void is also a fine addition to Jourdain’s prolific and inscrutable body of recent solo and collaborative electronic music works, in line with his shift from the variable tempo strategies found on Automatisme’s Transit (2018, Constellation) and Alter– (2020, Mille Plateaux) toward the resurgent minimal dub/techno pulse of his Viatorism project with Pheek (2020, Mille Plateaux; 2021, Diffuse Reality) and his 2021 Zeitgeist album with Beyond Humans (2021, Force Inc). Thanks for listening.
Deluxe 180gram vinyl edition pressed at Optimal (DE) comes in 350gsm jacket + 300gsm artworked inner both printed LE-UV on uncoated Arktika artboard + DL card.
180gLP Art Print Edition includes two 9.5″x12″ art prints of the original cover photographs by Stefan Paulus (mail-order exclusive/edition of 100).
CD comes in custom mini-gatefold artboard jacket.