Hisolat records present Threshold, the debut 12” from Matthias Puech. Puech’s work has a curious genealogy. The sounds that you hear are from own-made modular synthesisers. Homemade electronics are of course nothing new, from Aphex Twin’s recoded ZX81 to demented circuit-bent Furbys. As long as engineers have designed hardware, musicians have twisted them into instruments. Puech himself works by programming chips and interfaces for modular synthesisers: rewiring machines to rewire the brain.
This concept of ‘engineering’ also features as the theme for much of the music. If these sounds are ‘about’ anything, then they are about the elegance of mathematics; the strangeness of numbers. This ought to be unsurprising, since Puech himself works as a research scientist by day. Yet Threshold displays a sonic world that is neither steely nor robotic. These sounds are living, breathing and growing. Listen, for example, to the churn of bustling insects on ‘The Moth Song’, the earthy squelches of ‘Make or Break’, or the call-and-response bird song of ‘Biome’.
The world that Threshold presents is one where the natural and artificial are symbiotic. It is a place not dissimilar to the one imagined by Richard Brautigan in his 1967 prose on a technological utopia: “…a cybernetic meadow where mammals and computers live together in mutually programming harmony […] a cybernetic forest filled with pines and electronics where deer stroll peacefully past computers as if they were flowers with spinning blossoms…”