STEVE DEWHURST / SOUND & VISION
@UNDERSCORE MUSIC MAGAZIN
WATCH: AUTOMATISME & STEFAN PAULUS, “SÄNTIS”
Taken from the forthcoming album Gap/Void, due for release via Constellation on 20 May, this debut collaborative track from William Jourdain (aka Automatisme) and Swiss field recorder Stefan Paulus morphs from zippy electro ping-pong to dread-filled Alpine gale with all the creeping, nerve-wringing subtlety of a great horror film.
Having first met as contributors to the Ultrablack of Music compilations for Mille Plateaux, it wasn’t until 2021 that Paulus approached Jourdain with a proposal to intertwine his field recordings of storms and creaking glaciers with his Canadian counterpart’s glitchy click ‘n’ cut signal processing. The resulting music is a beautifully deep and complex blend, with Jourdain’s micro-samples pinging and popping around the ice cave walls brought to towering, immovable life by Paulus – a terminal battle between abrasive synthetics and the vastness of the earth itself. “Säntis,” the lead track, lays bare the conflict, for all intents and purposes a classic track of two halves. As enjoyably mind-boggling as Automatisme’s opening electronic barrage is, there’s a rare thrill to be found in the howling storm that creeps in to obliterate it as Paulus takes control, and a refreshing clarity to the way the contrasts are presented. Paulus’ own pin-hole photographs have been overlapped to make the video, itself a hypnotically daunting display of elemental grandeur – you can watch and enjoy that below.