Craque | Supple
 Cat: AB019
 Time: April 09
 Media: Digital Download

 Info: Supple illustrates the flex and diversity of Craque’s
 approach. Founded upon his subconscious processes 
 the music has been allowed to emerge through 
 improvisation, experimentation and discovery.

 Artist site:

 PDF Press Release: Download  

 01. Topless (MP3 Preview)
02. Navfrakure (MP3 Preview)
03. Supple Network
04. Lusid Crystalin
05. Diaphanous Oblic
06. Berühren
07. Tlit
08. Sextant (MP3 Preview)
09. Leatheroque (MP3 Preview)
Craque - Supple download download download
 Who are you?
 A performer, composer, improvisor, DJ, instrument 
 builder, sculptor, writer, lover and technology geek.

 Why do you write music?
 Putting something together like an album where you 
 sit down and listen to a specific artifact is not 
 necessarily my goal, and in my process and 
 application I end up doing things (on purpose or not) 
 that encourage a simultaneous experience with 
 sounds outside of the recording. I am interested in 
 sound that could be made by some imaginary device 
 or creature, unique ways of perceiving the 
 organizations we call music, opening the ear to new 
 combinations and experiences. I create because I 
 have an overwhelming desire to do so, one I 
 sometimes cannot stop, spurred by an even more 
 esoteric wish to do it poetically, but not trying to say 
 something as much as just trying to speak genuinely.

 How would you describe your music?
 As much as it can be, an extension of who I am. I trust 
 instincts a great deal, I try and coax the subconscious to 
 act. The sounds themselves come from everything I 
 hear, both synthesized and sampled, arranged and 
 chaotic, natural and alien. Improvisation and field 
 recording hold a central part. Using different types of 
 microphones I sample things live into an array of loopers, 
 delays and effects: stones, toys, plants, game calls, 
 music boxes, hand percussion, wind instruments, shells,
 radios and whatever else happens to be around. 
 Sometimes my tracks are very close to the original 
 improvisation, sometimes they are an amalgamation of 
 several. The reason I like sampling things directly isn't so
 much because I want to use my own samples, but rather
 a desire to get at the very core sound of the object. I'm 
 thinking this way about electricity now too, building 
 synths and kits from scratch instead of buying a 

 As for more recognizable descriptions, the things I do 
 range from difficult listening and noise to structured 
 dance rhythms and regular song forms. I never stay 
 long in any one style or genre, and most often I don't 
 even know the form of what I'll write until it occurs to 
 me to write it. My collegiate composition study creeps 
 into things as much as my love of techno or ego-defying 

 What does this album mean to you?
 This is truly my first full length ever released, so I really 
 feel accomplished with the whole album's construction; 
 a great deal of thought was put into the order of how 
 things blend together. I like to compost things, and in 
 some cases entire tracks have very blurred boundaries, 
 while at other points I wrote new pieces to conjoin them. 
 At some point this album became a larger entity made of 
 separate movements, and I tried to polish that aspect 
 with a sense of poetry. I especially dig the contrast of 
 song-form pieces alongside the expressionistic ones.

 Can you elaborate on some of your creative 
 I only vaguely understand how to get into the creative 
 process. Sometimes it's like I'm directing something 
 over which I don't quite have control, there is a corner
 or precipice I constantly feel next to me, and at some 
 point I know how to navigate it. An important aspect 
 of my creativity is embracing possibilities by letting go. 
 I don't write synthesizer music very much, nor do I 
 use very many plugins. My process is discovery 
 oriented and sometimes extremely manual, searching
 audio for new things, or trying to sculpt it to what I 
 want to hear, and oftentimes coming up with 
 wonderful accidents simply by giving myself some 
 sort of cognitive dissonance through my choice of 
 materials or method or whatever. For example, I like
 saving little slices of samples from edits or accidents,
 which themselves get supplanted into other tracks 
 (not necessarily the one I'm working on), mangled 
 and rearranged, and found on the cutting room floor 
 in some other form that itself gets recycled, and so 
 on. In a way for me it's a lot like using thematic 
 melody and harmony, only I am using sound samples
 as the seed material. The development of the motifs 
 through my music is often heard directly in the 
 samples, or the way they grow and re-contextualize.

 What are your future plans?
 For one, to never stop writing music. But my dream is 
 to open a performance space and restaurant with my
 wife, where we can foster experimental music in the
 community. One thing I've found about the LA region 
 is there are much less tight groups of artists and 
 musicians than in Chicago, New York or DC. One 
 problem I see is the lack of places to host the kinds
 of grassroots music and art that make a community
 special, I'd like to try and someday help fix that.

REVIEWS | Supple

 Following on from the exceptional electronic excursions of Ultre's The Nest And The Skull, the Audiobulb label
 returns with another remarkable album. Although instrumental electronica has suffered as a genre of late, 
 outings like this show glimmers of all-important vital signs. Craque monsieur Matt Davis weaves together 
 threads of acoustic and improvised sounds into a heavily processed nebula of beautiful noise, micro-beats and
  general digital abstraction. At its best the album offers a babbling brook of amplified textures and digitised loops, 
 sounding subtle and nuanced throughout 'Supple Network' and the delicately processed 'Navfrakure', while 
 'Diaphanous Oblic' is suggestive of Vladislav Delay making a mobile phone ringtone. Ace..

 Matt Davis is the man behind Craque, a training in classical composition and operatic performance enabling him 
 to concoct a specimen of sharp-minded, mainly loop-based, soothingly bubbly music originating from diverse 
 types of sonority including acoustic guitars, environmental repercussions, synthesized/sampled dissociations. 
 The sonic designs are often pristinely straightforward, in a positive way: there aren’t excesses and/or 
 surpluses, if not for some preventable over-fragmentation of the rhythmic pulse in a couple of instances. This 
 lucidness is all the more remarkable as it is surrounded by a whimsical yet entrancing ambience of weirdly 
 reverberating, high-quality electroacoustic protuberances, placing these tracks in the lands bordering with 
 clever techno on one side and sampladelia on the other, with occasional hints (involuntary, methinks) to 
 Muslimgauze as a plus. However, it’s the overall sense of order and precision that enriches the experience, 
 which - in case someone’s still doubtful - is rewarding under several aspects.

 Audio Bulb Recordings is a label focusing on exploratory electronic music with some quite interesting releases in 
 its back catalogue. Present album from the artist Craque also is a truly pleasant album. Behind the name you find 
 the US-born composer Matt Davis who has studied classical composition. The acoustic background is used to 
 give a nice organic touch to the IDM-based sound world. Acoustic guitar strums bounces along complex IDM-
 rhythm textures and clicking pulses waving in and out of the sound picture. A beautiful work that combines gentle 
 musical tones with demanding approaches to electronic sound art.

 Matt Davis has been releasing music since 2001, with the majority of his work thus far distributed via net labels, 
 often for free.  The last couple of years have seen an increase in his productivity, with a steady stream of EPs 
 and experimental pieces emanating under the auspices of Craque.  Supple is probably the highest profile release 
 to date, and one that draws together the various strands of Davis's recent work.  Both impressionistic pieces 
 drawn from improvisation and more defined, percussive tracks are to be found here.

 Certainly in Davis's eyes, Supple is the pinnacle of his output to date. A glance around his website and blog 
 shows that Davis puts a lot of thought into his work and methodology - maybe it’s the format used but he does 
 seem an introspective sort - and he sees Supple as the culmination of "Months... (actually, no, YEARS) where I 
 have absorbed things, seen new parts of the world, learned new techniques, sought out what's further; and 
 this album [has] evolved alongside me." Even without this statement one could have imagined that Davis put a lot 
 of thought into Supple - after all, this is his first album in some time that people will be paying for. 

 The over-riding experience of listening to Supple, however, is that much of what Davis absorbed was 
 electronica (or, if you wish, IDM) of the past twenty years. There's a guitar on the opening track that echoes 
 Pause-era Four Tet, underpinned later by a bassline that is reminiscent of Aphex Twin, around the time of 
 Selected Ambient Works 85-92. There’s a bit of Arovane here and there and more besides although to be fair, 
 Craque's not hiding his influences: on his page, his top artists chart includes Autechre, Ilkae, Plaid and 
 Proem, all of whom are present in one way or another on Supple. The influences inform but don't quite 
 overwhelm the work - it isn't a simple retread of borrowed ideas, but it does make the album seem oddly 
 conservative, certainly in comparison to the recent Craque free releases (worth checking out - see links on his 
 homepage). Is it because Davis is aware he's making a work that might break out from the coterie of net label 
 fans? Did the notion of forming his legacy in a cohesive, album-sized format cause unwanted pressure on his 
 creative urges? Has he over-thought his own work?

 In the end, it comes down to the music contained in those ones and zeroes, and unfortunately too much of 
 Supple drifts by unremarkably, mostly the more improvisation pieces. "Lucid Crystalin" does nothing, albeit 
 prettily, for its duration, a fate that happens to "Sextant", although, perhaps realising this, with 90 seconds to go, 
 Davis shakes us out of our torpor with a few interesting noises. There are a few moments worth the price of 
 admission, such as the opening, "Topless", which transcends its aforementioned influences to be a quite lovely 
 piece, and "Leatheroque", which closes the album by featuring the sound of Davis's vocals. But these are just 
 moments, and many of the tracks just don't have any impact, which is a real shame. A track like "Conductive 
 Plate" off the Material EP is basically a nine-minute drone piece and yet I find that more compelling than any of 
 Supple. In the same way, "Matterbuss" off Gamma uses the same tools (an acoustic guitar sample, crunchy 
 beats) as many of the tracks here but for some indefinable reason sounds more direct, more inventive. Davis is 
 clearly capable of making great tracks but he seems unable to recreate the magic on Supple - fortunately in 
 these tricky financial times, the best things by Craque are free. That's what we want.

 I've listened to Craque's Supple repeatedly for weeks now, thinking that perhaps it might eventually coalesce 
 into a recording equal to Audiobulb's other recent releases—Ultre's The Nest & The Skull, He Can Jog's 
 Middlemarch, and the 1 | Favourite Places  compilation—but to no avail. Supple was created by electronic 
 composer Matt Davis, who has been issuing music since 2001, with most of it until now having been distributed 
 via net labels, often for free. The palette of sounds he draws upon derives from field recordings and an eclectic 
 array of samples (e.g., stones, toys, plants, game calls, music boxes, hand percussion, wind instruments, shells, 
 radios, etc.) which are configured on the fly into loops and effects, the spontaneous dimension indicative of the 
 centrality of improvisation in Davis's stream-of-consciousness-like approach. Developed through a process that 
 involves chance and discovery, the tracks feature layers of textures and sampled sounds that the producer 
 shapes and arranges into rhythm tracks.

 "Topless” weaves found sounds samples into fractured and fluidly mutating rhythm structures, with the crackle 
 and thrum of a funky electronica beat rising to the surface to anchor the material, and eventually give the tune's 
 treated piano tones and samples some welcome heft and punch. In “Berühren,” acoustic bass and broken beats 
 stumble and stutter as they're chopped into the shuddering flow and speckled with digital noise, while bell 
 accents and piano tinkles add ear-catching sounds to an otherwise brooding stream in “Supple Network.” Davis 
 drops his own voice into the mix in “Sextant” to negligible effect, though the track does eventually cohere into a 
 mildly arresting rhythm-driven blend of keyboard and guitar elements and ambient squiggles and clicks.

 Unfortunately, compared to the other aforementioned releases, Supple underwhelms. With each of its pieces 
 flecked with ample detail, the recording is anything but slapdash, but it just doesn't cohere into an overly 
 compelling listening experience. There's nothing that grabs you by the throat and makes you stand to attention, 
 and consequently Supple comes across as modestly diverting but not much more, maybe because there's no 
 narrative development or build but instead an even-keeled, shape-shifting flow. Complex mixtures of acoustic, 
 electronic, and sampled sounds intermingle, but an ongoing play of mutating sound alone isn't captivating enough. 
 Ultimately, alas, the recording registers as a serviceable but not stunning collection. 

 Audiobulb Is an exploratory music label designed to support the work of innovative artists. 
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