David Mata – Rough Grassland

david mataSome of the most extraordinary ambient music is surprisingly dense. Given the genre’s traditional emphasis on spacious, quiet composition, an artist that can achieve the same result with a more complex approach deserves recognition.

Madrid’s David Mata is one of those artists. Since 2008, he’s composed work for album release, as well as for film, stage and more under the name Erissoma.

Despite being self-taught, Mata has earned himself an international reputation. He is a veteran of high-end festivals like Off Herzios, Madatac, the Optical International Video Art Festival, In-Sonora and the ARCO fair. He also leads the 7MNS Music and Seattle Dott Recs labels.

Mata’s latest LP, Rough Grassland, lands tomorrow.

It is a major statement from the experienced music producer. Rather than relying on digital software, Mata has taken an electroacoustic approach. Recordings of “traditional small objects in a minimalist way,” as he describes them, are weaved together across the 10 pieces.

The album opens, appropriately enough, with “Enter Gently.” Despite Mata’s use of the adjective minimalist, there’s a good deal going on here. Like a lot of the album, the more attention you pay each piece, the more you’ll take from it. This one has a grainy, evocative quality, suggesting that perhaps its title should be read as a warning.

Next is “The Particle Walks Slowly,” which begins with more traditional ambient drones. Here too though, there is a grittiness that feels both opposing and complementary.

Some of these pieces sound like there’s something crawling around, just below the music’s surface. Others, like the surprisingly titled “Plunged,” will have you feeling gently elevated.

This will all be either comforting, creepy or a mix of the two. But you will not be bored. The 45-minute album never once disappoints. It is a fascinating, delicately composed collection of musical surprises.

Kevin Press

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