Western Australian sound artist Matt Rösner took an extended hiatus from music making over the last decade or so, working as an engineer in remote WA. We were pretty taken with the likes of 2010’s Two Lakes with Seaworthy, which seamlessly merged field recordings and instrumental improvisations (you can read our review here), and the controlled sparseness of 2007’s Morning Tones (you can read our review here). We even spoke with him back in 2007, where he pointed out, not surprisingly that it was the quieter more restrained moments in music that inspired him. You can read that interview here. His music seamlessly merges gentle musical tones with subtle field recordings and the results are quite spellbinding. Thankfully he’s recently returned to music making with No Lasting Form (Room40), so we thought we’d take this opportunity to ask him about the music that moves him.
Tim Hecker – Radio Amor (Mille Plaeaux)
An early Tim Hecker record that I always go back to. Inspired by the Caribbean it sounds like broken radio transmissions bouncing across a hot ocean, humid and still. The ocean is a deeply spiritual place for me, I try to swim or walk on the shoreline each day. Radio Amor is my ultimate ocean record, bringing back memories of the salt on the skin at dusk after a hot Western Australian summer’s day.
Eliane Radigue – Triptych (Important Records)
The very first Eliane Radigue record that I heard, back when it was first re-released around 2009. I recall listening in the pitch black in the dead quiet of winter. This music is made with machines but Radigue imbues a sense of the natural world, the pieces cycle and move in wavelike motion and aside from being deeply spiritual there is a very clear physical element, be that from the gradual dynamic shifts, the tape medium or when you shift around the playback space. I am lucky to have room in my house that has wooden cathedral ceilings and nice acoustics, the perfect place for listening to Radigue’s long form works.
Lubomyr Melnyk – Corollaries (Erased Tapes)
Lubomyr makes continuous piano music, super fast with an amazing technique and so full of emotion. This music is always engrossing, ever shifting and trance like. I first heard Pockets of Light, from Corollaries, the day that I found out I was going to be a father, so this track will always hold a special part of my memory. The moment that Peter Broderick starts singing half way through gets me every time.
Low – Double Negative (Sub Pop)
In reality, I could choose any Low record for this column. They are a huge influence, not only their sound but the fact they continue to evolve and to take risks. Double Negative is the signature Low sound ripped apart by static and tectonic noise, far removed from their early classics like “Things We Lost in the Fire”. Over the past 2 years, a large percentage of my listening time has been devoted to Low’s entire catalogue, its music that is powerful in its spareness and simplicity which certainly resonates in our uncertain times.
Ben Frost – Steelwound (Room40)
Neil Young – On the Beach (Reprise)
One of my all time favourite albums and songs. The guitar sound on the title track is the ultimate for me. Couple that with the lyrics and the feeling that it may all fall to bits at any second, suspended in a fleeting moment. Legend has it that Young and his band were so in the moment the tape ran out whilst recording the title track, but rather than re-recording it was decided just to add a long fade at the end. I often wonder what On the Beach morphed into after the tape ran out. But that’s part of the beauty of recording, capturing a moment in time and that something special simply occurs from the ether.
This record resonates with my need for Isolation. Recorded as guitar improvisations in an isolated part of the Great Ocean Road and then reconfigured and assembled, Steelwound was given to me by Lawrence English when I was working on Alluvial in the early days of room40. To create my music, isolation is a key component. I spent 8 years living in the city and struggled to make a single track, there was too much external noise. But as soon as I moved back to the country inspiration returned. Perhaps it was the connection to nature that was lacking and the wide open Western Australian spaces. I am sure that Ben Frost was also driven by these elements when creating Steelwound. Seaworthy – Map in Hand (12k)
I’ve been so lucky to collaborate with Cameron Webb, aka Seaworthy. We’ve made two records together based on field recordings in coastal and mountain regions of New South Wales. Essentially, we pack a heap of recording gear and disappear for 2-3 days to capture the sounds of a particular place. These trips are not only about the music and sound, its also a great chance to just disconnect and to be one with our surroundings.
Map in Hand is Cam’s first 12k record. Its made of simple means, guitar, pedals and field recordings that beautifully document an Australian landscape. I quite often listen to Map in Hand whilst driving at dawn or when sitting on a plane on the other side of the Earth, missing home. This is my quintessential Australian record.
No Lasting Form will be released by Room40 on the 2nd of April 2021. You can find it here.