Mt. Hadamard National Park

HG 2302LP HG 2302LP

Mt. Hadamard National Park is the Hallow Ground debut by composer, programmer, and instrument designer Matthias Puech. Informed by mathematical and artistic approaches that aim to both contemplate on and control complexity, the eponymous five-part composition explores natural and mystical forces through what he calls "audio-naturalist noise". The composition is complemented by two further pieces that follow similar concepts: "Suspension" emulates the chemical phenomenon of the same name, while "Imperceptible Life" hinges on the musical possibilities of stridulation. Over the course of the entire album, Puech's singular take on electro-acoustic and electronic music creates unique sonic spaces as much as it pays its dues to the unpredictability of the world that we inhabit. Jacques Hadamard was a pioneer among physicists and mathematicians who, in the early 20th century, were puzzled by processes that are deterministic but hard to predict. The sounds, arranged in sweeping and tense dynamics, serve as multiple agents within a complex system. The synthetic flora and fauna created through the use of the composer-performer's instruments feels uncannily familiar or even disturbingly hostile at times... This process is mirrored in aquatic yet tangible sounds as well as dynamics that slowly converge towards density before the composition ends on a quiet note. The 14-minute-long "Imperceptible Life" is based on a 2019 live performance first conceived as a full-scale test drive of some new electronic equipment Puech was designing at that time. It explores the musical potential of stridulation, the act of creating sounds by rubbing together certain body parts -- in the insect world, a common means of communication. Again, Puech's approach is neither purely naturalistic nor only mimetic. Rather, "Imperceptible Life" offers yet another artistic reflection on the theme of chaos and order, and how human perception and emotion relate to it. As a whole, Mt. Hadamard National Park thus not merely mirrors natural phenomena but transforms them in ways that are emotionally evocative: the complexity and apparent arbitrariness of Puech's compositions reveal an underlying beauty that is equal parts haunting and comforting.