WADE MATTHEWS - Absent Friends (Sillon, 2005)
Wade Matthews: electronics
After the Doneda and Rombolá outings on Sillón reviewed in these pages last month, you might be forgiven for expecting more of Wade Matthews' work on bass clarinet and flute (especially if you're familiar with his two Creative Sources releases Aspirations & Inspirations and Dining Room Music), but no: Absent Friends is subtitled "Seven Electronic Improvisations" and finds the French-born American improviser using Reaktor software to turn a G4 Powerbook into a virtual analog synthesizer. For the benefit of trainspotters his setup consists of "four audible multiple wave oscillators, a white noise generator with dedicated two-pole resonating filter, three low-frequency oscillators (which can control amplitude, frequency and/or filter depth, cut-off, etc.) a main filter that can be controlled by the LFOs, a bunch of secondary filters and a four-oscillator chorus unit." So now you know. It's not surprising that Matthews goes into detail here, as he studied electronic music with Mario Davidovsky at the mythic Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, where his doctoral dissertation consisted of three pieces for improvisers guided by electronic sounds. "I'm not a woodwind improviser who's just moved into electronics because they’re 'in' right now. My electronic experience goes back almost a quarter of a century," he points out.