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Mattias Petersson

I'm a sucker for conceptual albums and ideas based on found sound. There's something about documenting a place with audio that has a huge appeal to me, as if you could somehow extent the life of a place or time by recording it to a CD when in truth the audio may end up decaying just as quickly as the source it was taken from. In the case of this release by Mattias Petersson, all the source material for the release was recorded inside a now-defunct iron mine (that went by the name of Mimer) in Norberg, Sweden.

Whereas one might expect a CD full of reverbed drones and soft beds of clicks and cuts to be the result of such sampling, it seems that Petersson might have been on hand to record some of the more active functions of the mine before it was closed down. Instead of being a release based on drones and quiet washes of sound, Mimer is the sound of a mine in action as it grinds, chews, and chips away at the earth. Calling to mind a more stripped-down version of Autechre, many of the tracks on Mimer swarm with a metallic intensity only furthered by digital manipulations made to the source sounds. Although things start out somewhat subdued (all 17 tracks on the release are only identified with running times, not titles) with softer clicks ping away in the dark, it eventually gives way to much more mechanical and harsh sounds.

Around the mid-point of the disc is when things start to really change. On the seventh track, sharp bursts of noise and static pierce the droning noise of what sounds like a conveyor belt that needs a good dose of oil while track 9 spits minced and garbled warning signals down an abandoned shaft to a canary that has already suffocated at the bottom. I've personally never been to the Mimer iron mine, but from listening to this recording my mind paints the picture of a place that has robbed the earth of all its natural resources while leaving behind a gaping hole as a huge eyesore. The dissonant tones of the release remind me of metal scraping against metal and flaking sheared bits to the ground while rust seeps into the earth and machines grudgingly do their duty, only holding together with a little bit of luck and the hope of just a little more iron ore. In terms of pure listening experience, it's not something I'd want to experience very often, but if you're into experimental electronics with a piercing edge, Mimer will definitely be up your alley.

Rating: 5.75