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New Stephan Mathieu & Sylvain Chauveau LP
Laurie Tuffrey , September 3rd, 2012 00:06

Smog lyrics backed by Farfisa organ, French horn and zither instrumentals on new album Palimpsest; listen to 'Soaking The Pages In Tea' below

German sound artist Stephan Mathieu and French electronics man Sylvain Chauveau have collaborated on a new album, Palimpsest (artwork above, by Caro Mikalef), out now digitally and on September 21 on limited edition vinyl via Schwebung, which sets Bill Callahan's lyrics to instrumental soundscapes.

Mathieu, who has recently been working with Main frontman Robert Hampson on a new album, recorded the music initially. Then, rather than the planned piano and guitar, Chauveau added lyrics by Callahan to the mix. In that light, it seems likely that the album is titled after the opening track of Smog's A River Ain't Too Much To Love. Palimpsest also features work by Jeff Witscher, aka Rene Hell.

Mathieu says: "Sylvain and I started discussing an instrumental album when we met for the first time in 2009. During 2010 I made recordings for this project, using the instruments I’m having in the house – a piano, spinet, Farfisa organ, zither, french horn, cymbals, as well as recordings of a viol quartet I had written in 2008. This material was arranged and reprocessed then, resulting in my usual abstract soundscapes. To my surprise, once Sylvain heard the tracks he came up with the proposal to add lyrics of some of Bill Callahan’s classic Smog songs instead of further instrumental voices.

"I’m still amazed by how he had heard this potential in the pieces, how he placed Bill’s lyrics there, especially since my original material is used for the album as is, without further changes or editing. It is exciting for me to hear my sound in this context, the way how things suddenly start to fall into place. Instead of being classic cover versions, Palimpsest is much more rooted in the tradition of the exquisite corpse."

Have a listen to 'Soaking The Pages In Tea' from the new LP below: