As children, we are wont to wander. Abandoned buildings, fallow fields, cracked drainpipes and secluded forests possess a secret allure. We look and listen closely; we invent stories in our minds to explain the sudden boom, the constant crackle, the whistle and whirr. But as we age, most of us lose this urge. Perhaps we no longer hear the siren call. Or perhaps we are simply too busy and overworked, attached to technology rather than nature, concerned with family and health and money and an ever-growing backup on our DVRs.
Jérémie Mathes has not forgotten. At the very least, he’s reconnected with an eternal tug. What’s in this old factory? he wonders. Will I find remnants of the people who once processed rice, or Navy officers who occupied it? And what of this dark silo? I will crawl into it and investigate.
At this point, horror aficionados will be saying, “Don’t go in there!” (Or at the very least, “Don’t say, ‘I’ll be right back!”) This is what separates Mathes from the herd. He doesn’t come right back. Instead, he sets up shop in complete darkness to investigate the sonic properties of the silo and its surrounding territories. At times one can hear the grain as it is being sorted, or ghosts of grain. A light dinner bell rings. Clanks and echoes abound. Rhythmic touches reverberate like tribal drums. The entire album – a single 43-minute track – sounds like a dispatch from the past, foreboding yet no longer dangerous.
Mathes is curious and thorough. The listener gains the impression that he stays as long as it takes to hear every possible permutation of sound. And yet, hidden sounds do remain: overlapping harmonic convergences, random taps, ghosts in the machine. The location has changed and is always changing. Simultaneously an echo of the past and a germ of the future, it will continue to change. We never step into the same silo twice, but at least we are fortunate enough to hear it once. (Richard Allen)