Noémi Büchi’s music appears to exist within the summary realm of concepts, but the Swiss sound artist sees her work as eminently tangible. “A musician additionally works with matter, the air,” she says. “It appears to be immaterial as a result of it has a a lot smaller density than different objects, however in spite of everything, the whole lot is materials.” Büchi considers sound a bodily medium “like stone, wooden, paint or textile.” The theme runs by way of her discography: the titles of her EPs Matière and Hyle are taken from the French for “materials” and the traditional Greek for “substance.” Finishing the trilogy is Matter, her first full-length album: a maximalist re-imagining of Romantic and modernist classical music utilizing a shapeshifting, futuristic digital orchestra.
Together with her 2020 debut, Matière, Büchi seamlessly mixed bouncy modular synthesis with quotidian area recordings, like a folks artisan gathering provides from their on a regular basis environment. Matter strikes from the craft truthful to the museum, drawing from her classical coaching to twist symphonic music into unbelievable sonic sculptures. Büchi’s signing to the Zürich label -OUS locations her in a milieu of like-minded artists like Feldermelder and Furtherset, who mix experimental electronics with the grand scope of symphonic music. Büchi is extra express together with her classical influences, nonetheless, citing Stravinsky, Mahler, Scriabin, and Ligeti as touchstones. Matter invokes these composers’ ambition and drama in addition to their musical tropes. After learning the late Romantic and early modernist canon, Büchi makes use of no matter she will be able to—modular and digital synthesizers, acoustic devices and voice, Max/MSP and SuperCollider—to remodel their concepts into completely new, and new-sounding, music of her personal.
Büchi composed Matter as if she had an orchestra in her head, with the additional benefit that imaginary gamers don’t must abide by the legal guidelines of physics. Although her ensemble’s particular person sections are identifiable, they swirl and collide in noisy aerial acrobatics, typically turning into hopelessly tangled. The strings that open the album on “Elemental Worry” construct to a crescendo and morph into stuttering percussion, biking throughout the sector whereas their centripetal pressure tilts the observe’s trajectory sideways. On “Taking the Prepare With Mr. Shark,” in the meantime, a propulsive digital piano rhythm is lifted up by sweeping, romantic strings, lending nostalgic grandeur to what might in any other case be the premise of a techno observe. Within the album’s densest moments, Büchi pushes symphonic concord to a breaking level, drawing on each experimental digital and classical traditions however becoming wholly in neither class.
Matter suffers when this pressure between the outdated and the brand new is misplaced. “Uncertainty of an Undefined Interdependence” is extra harking back to Tim Hecker than Gustav Mahler, putting us too comfortably within the current, relatively than within the uncanny house between previous and future that Büchi so deftly conjures elsewhere. The late Romantic harmonic development on the equally ambient album nearer “Prelude for Rational Freshness,” for instance, is rendered directly acquainted and unusual by the music’s buzzing synths, which fall out of tune solely to soar upward and harmonize once more.