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Matt Wand - Public.Exe

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Artist: Matt Wand

Album: Public.Exe

Label: Dekorder

Review date: Oct. 13, 2004

As half of the musically absurdist duo Stock, Hausen and Walkman, Matt Wand has quite a history of using non-traditional means in the process of composition; such experience provides the glue which holds the Gameboy-derived sounds of Public.Exe together. Recorded live and edited from performances during 2000-2002 in Paris, Manchester and Utrecht, the dates are clearly separated, yet gel together in a near-organic fashion. “Manchester” bleeds the auditory canal akin to an aural leech with piercing, high pitch frequencies and only an offhanded jerky two-beat rhythm to keep time. What could be an annoying and painful listen is saved by a drunken blend of wrangling distortion pedals and chaotic bursts of boxed rhythms.

“Paris” provides a much more challenging listen as rainforest birdsongs mingle with a noisy crowd of tourists until a cloud of tinny feedback drapes the proceeding. This supple cloud is soon blown apart by what sounds like a league of engines revved up in neutral, engines that quickly distort into digital chatter that strives towards a pointed cyclic rhythmic content.

The “Utrecht” performance begins with simple drum patterns that gently propel forward, gaining offspring at every turn, till a complex network of sound and rhythm follows suit, eventually reaching a maximum level of intensity when the motor is shut down and each network closes separately, akin to hearing each fragment of the composition die off in futile silence.

In typical prankster fashion, the second side is merely a reversed cut of the previous performances. Though a backwards recording may appear to be a throwaway option, it does allow for a unique perspective on the live performances. As sounds rush by in reverse order, a clear compositional mold is revealed and what initially appeared haphazardly random upon first listen firmly molds into a work of utter precision and complexity.

By Everett Jang Perdue

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