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act 148 · squaremeter · war of sound · cd

the cry of morgoth, turbulent sound, discord (war of sound), the music seized, the scourges of fire, thus began also..., in ages forgotten.

written & produced by mathis mootz.
recorded autumn/winter2k2.
mastered at metarc. artwar by salt.

the discord of melkor rose in uproar, and again there was a war of sound.

and so the two hobbits set forth on their... no. this is not an ode to the crass commercialization of j. r. r. tolkien's ring cycle. it is, however, an album destine to be one of 2003's most memorable for its seductive darkness, its mesmerizing thematic progression, its complex sonic foundations. m2's war of sound borrows samples from a long-forgotten recording about the silmarillion, but the dense sound carnage it conjures up is exactly what we've come to expect from mathis mootz.

it's hard to believe that revolutionary hardcore drum‚n‚bass producer mathis mootz, more commonly known as panacea, is releasing his sixth full-length album as m2 - pronounced "squaremeter" but it's true, and in keeping with an unrelenting drive to push himself, mootz delivers an complete and total evolution in m2's ethos with war of sound.

beginning in late 1999 with 14id1610s, the m2 project took shape as a way for mootz to explore sound realms outside the intensely structured ferocity of panacea's break-based madness, to work with sound as texture and layer in a contemporary fashion and ant-zen was the perfect means. "i had only one release on the label at that time and not much to do with the industrial-scene," explains mootz, "so stefan alt (owner of ant-zen) sent me all the releases he did and out of that i made my first m2 release... he also came up with the name, so i owe him something!"

yet the m2 albums that followed on mille plateaux (sinecore, 2000), ant-zen (kopyright liberation, 2000), and hands (parsec, 2001 and the bitter end, 2002) instead saw mootz exploring the worlds of microsound and glitch through the implementation of various sample sources ranging from the klf to, well, electrically-excited transistors and diodes the size of a few hundred nanometers (laptop, clicks & cuts, etc). but the aesthetic of m2 remained one of the minimalism more often found in sound experimentalists like carsten nicolai and raster-noton, taylor deupree and 12k, and goem - where the value of a sound, be it sampled or traditionally generated, came from its aural texture. until war of sound.

on his releases as panacea, warfare, kate mosh, rich kid, and others, there's an intense, even violent kind of emotional chaos at work that serves to push audiences to release aggression - just check the maniacal happy-hardcore-turned-wicked-breaks sound of last year's panacea album, underground superstardom on position chrome for evidence. previous m2 releases also have that hellishness imbedded in their microsound textures to some degree, but it's not as pronounced as on war of sound. thus war of sound begins to shore up the stylistic gulf that has existed between m2 and mootz other projects.

"an artist should always progress with his sound, the actual style of m2 i've been working on is more 'danceable'‚ better for live-shows than the complete ambient-like productions i‚ve done in the past," says mootz, whose musical life began at age 6 with voice, piano, and flute lessons and includes vocal recordings with the world-renown windsbacher knabenchor and a degree in audio engineering.

"well, certainly there have been loads of glitch-ambient releases in the past but my live shows with m2 really showed me the necessity of beats. i just didn‚t want to bore people with the ultra-reduced soundscapes of parsec anymore. also i thought it would be easy to work with rhythm in m2 songs - they are all from 60 to 90 bpm - slow so you can easily bang your head!"

getting to the head banging takes a little while, as war of sound builds in slow, deliberate movements, carefully establishing a dark chord progression in the introductory "the cry of morgoth" that flows throughout the album. this ominous leitmotif is enriched by mootz‚ liberal use of vocal elements - both as a focal point via heart-wrenching voice solos and the evil-toned narration from the silmarillion, and as somber texture in the distant sounds of a purgatorial choir. on the second track, "turbulent sound," more characteristically clickish m2 sounds penetrate war of sounds macabre fabric, where laptop glitch elements akin to sinecore's microsound aesthetic pepper the music before cracking into a blistering break that foreshadows the tempestuous driving synth pulse of "discord (war of sound)." "the music seized" offers a melodic respite with gentle ambient tones that makes the metal-tinged pounding of "the scourges of fire" the malevolent zenith of war of sound, with its thunderous echo and martial tempo. the rancor continues into the denouement, "thus began also...", another glitch-filled affair married to overtones of synth oblivion. war of sound ends on the prophetic minor chords of "in ages forgotten:" and the melodies which had been heard before foundered in a sea of turbulent sound.

mootz says that although he enjoys the pernicious tone that the silmarillion samples bring to war of sound, he nevertheless still derives a lot of inspiration from early techno and ambient music, including among other artists, the orb, messiah, and the klf. but that's not the only thing filtering into war of sound.

"it's because i used much more musical layers making these tunes than the other m2 releases. i wanted this record to be truly dark, cuz i‚m sometimes fascinated with all that dark ambient and satanic music crap that's out there that's merely a joke! i wanted to make the ultimate satanic record!"

whether war of sound is the ultimate satanic record or not is up for debate - imminent starvation, hypnoskull, and lustmord may have something to say about that. but with a new dj scud collaboration (the redeemer on position chrome), new panacea, rich kid, and another m2 album on the way, mathis mootz may lay claim to the "prolific satanic record" title. you can decide by checking out war of sound first.

m2 discography. 02.2k3
m2. 14id1610s. cd. ant-zen. 2000
m2. sinecore. cd, mille plateaux. 2000
m2. kopyright liberation. lp. ant-zen. 2000
m2 / needle sharing. mono brutal. lp. hands. 2000
m2. parsec. cd. hands. 2001
m2 / xingu hill. this anxious space. cd, hymen. 2001
m2. the bitter end. cd. hands. 2002
m2. war of sound. cd. ant-zen. 2003

more info:


i had never been overly enamoured with the squaremeter sound: a paint-by-numbers approach to clicks 'n' cuts that never really displayed the same energy or creativity as panacea (the main project of squaremeter, aka mathis mootz) or other genre artists such as ryoji ikeda and alva noto. however, my opinion greatly changed at 2002's maschinenfest, where they (for squaremeter live are a duo) delivered an awe-inspiring performance, combining elements of glitch, drone, dark ambient and breakbeat that set them apart as something truly unique. it is in this thundering, apocalyptic mode that we find war of sound, the sixth squaremeter album - his third for ant-zen. taking several vocal samples from an audio book of tolkien's the silmarillion, the album revolves around its metaphysical concept of music as a both a symbol of the soul and a weapon, with dark, discordant noises being the most powerful of all. it opens, however, in near-silence with the trademark squaremeter clicks, slowly introducing monolithic rumbles until it erupts in a cataclysmic detonation of strings, bass and beats, all guided along by the omnipresent, doom-laden narration...and so begins the war of sound. although the album is divided into seven tracks, it plays more like one, long, expansive piece with recurrent musical themes and familiar rhythms cropping up on occasion. this lends itself well to the grandiose tone of the compositions, which perfectly reflect the epic, bombastic prose of tolkien's work. indeed, each track is named after a phrase from the narration and provides a fitting soundtrack (although i am loathe to use that word) to that section of the tale, concretising both the angelic voices and the increasingly satanic one that slowly gain dominion over all (for the silmarillion is partly based on paradise lost and the myths of pre-creation). this album also sees the debut, as far as i am aware, of vocals by mootz (in any of his incarnations: panacea, rich kid, kate mosh, etc.). i always thought it strange that a classically trained singer would give up their main instrument completely, even when exploring other avenues of music. here, though, his voice enriches several of the tracks with heart wrenching ethnic-tinged wailing, something that i'd like to hear more of as he does have a superb voice. existing fans of squaremeter's work (and those who have not experienced them live) may be slightly shocked at the sharp change of direction on this album; nevertheless, i feel the change has been for the best, bringing some much-needed life and innovation into an increasingly tiresome act. this is certainly his finest work to date, possibly even eclipsing his work as panacea as well. a highly recommended and highly addictive release. (gavin lees)

"and then the music and the echo of the music went out in the void, and it was not void." m2 (pronounced "squaremeter") is mathis mootz's heretofore microsound and glitch project. while his work under the names of panacea, kate mosh, rich kid and others strive to explode the envelope of breakbeat and happy hardcore, m2 has been about exploring the limits and resounding depths of sound. with war of sound, mootz has propelled m2 closer to the aggressive stance of this other projects. thematically arranged around vocal samples taken from a forgotten recording of j.r.r. tolkien's silmarillion, war of sound is a growling, bristling dark ambient monolith. each track selects a single syntactic thought and builds an atmosphere round the imagery of the vocal sample. "the scourges of fire" deals with the balrogs, the "demons of terror," and the track is filled with pulsating waves of martial melody like walls of rich flame and a tiny choir of lost voices crying in the background. "thus began also..." is rife with the microglitch elements which are woven through the entire record, the pop and crackle arcing over a faint folksinger. "and thus began also the count of time" is the ultimate line of the sample and, with each utterance of this declaration, more elements are added to the track: static-laden guitars, swirling synth melodies, operatic vocals, and persistent percussion. each iteration increases the density of the music until the whole thing collapses; the pieces spin away and leave just the sonorous voice and the glitch elements. the central conflict gets underway in "dischord (war of sound)," as the armies of light and dark come contact with each other on a vast plain. the narrator sets the scene and then steps back as the trumpets sound, as a single wordless voice rises over the companies, and the combat commences. completely widescreen in its presentation, "dischord (war of sound)" hurls you into the thick of battle. the aftermath of combat, "the music seized," is a solemn funeral march as the defeated armies are broken and scattered before the horizon-clearing echo of a gigantic gong. war of sound can be thought of as a symphony -- a multi-movement piece with each of the seven parts utilizing the same instrumentation and leitmotifs while focusing on an altered variation of the thematic structure of the whole piece. "in ages forgotten" buries the glitch elements beneath a wave of voice, drum pads, and sweeping melodies. the narrative voice returns one last time to end the tale on a hopeful note as the people succeed in building a world of light. the previous darkness is pushed back by the presence of musical elements which would seem more in keeping with a dead can dance record than a bleak, symphonic masterpiece about the splintered darkness. mootz says that he derives a lot of inspiration from techno and ambient music and the influence is clear here with his pacing and his use of reoccurring elements. while the baleful narration from the silmarillion lends an oppressive and martial air to the material, war of sound is still an instrumental record, a complete narrative cycle set to music. this is the soundtrack for judgment day. spin it now and hear what the last days have in store for you. recommended. (mark teppo)

sonic seducer
für viel mehr als musikmachen dürfte im leben von mathis mootz keine zeit vorhanden sein, schließlich veröffentlicht er mit "war of sound" nicht nur sein sechstes m2 album in rund drei jahren, sondern arbeitet dazu auch noch an material für seine anderen projekte panacea, rich kid, kate moss und warfare. daß die qualität seines outputs nicht darunter leidet ist mehr als beachtenswert. "war of sound" erscheint als quintersenz der vorangehangenden m2 alben: das stetige klicken digitaler fehler, ethno samples, volumiöse flächensounds, repetitive sprachsamples und sehr gelungenes programming schwerer, langsamer rhythmen - in der kombination am ehesten noch mit mimetic zu vergleichen, allerdings mit deutlich stärkerer verwurzelung im dark ambient terrain. und für eben jenes, mitunter an fehlenden innovationen leidenden genre, liefert "war of sound" neue ansatzpunkte - die einzelnen elemente sind sicher nicht neu, die art, wie sie hier verwendet werden, darf aber als längst überfällige frischzellen kur angesehen werden. alleine dafür gebührt mootz dank, von einem großartigen album ganz zu schweigen. (sascha bertoncin)
suoni turbolenti prodotti da mathis mootz: 'war of sound' è un progetto elaborato sotto il marchio m' (si pronuncia 'squaremeter'), dai ritmi oscuri, narcotici e perversamente seducenti, che agitano le fruste dell'elettronica, in passaggi minimali, glitch and click, dalle venature industrial-ambient, a cui si cerca d'infondere sufficiente vigore, tanto da rendere questi trattamenti (nelle intenzioni) piĚ adatti ad un live-show che non al semplice e puro ascolto. i toni incedono in molti passaggi ad epiche radicali e declamatorie, alle quali si preferisce la leggerezza delle rifiniture, delle microfrequenze abilmente insistite con circolare assedio attorno il nucleo della struttura complessiva. la novità tuttavia è proprio quella indotta dall'utilizzo delle battute (contenute fra i 60 ed i 90 bpm), nell'intreccio su di un tappeto risonante di esili emergenze, amplificato dagli elementi vocali usati con costanza nel corso di tutte le sette tracce dell'album. mootz riesce a dar vita ad una mistura dai forti sapori, reattiva e dagli umori 'satanici', che potrebbe essere apprezzata anche in territori differenti (quelli ad esempio nelle lande poco decifrabili comprese fra attitudini goth e techno-metal). sperimentazioni contemporanee all'insegna di un suono deliberatamente mutoide, inquietante e profetico. (aurelio cianciotta)

wreck this mess
lorsque l'on invoque panacea, on pense tout de suite à un chaos de sons trash et hardcore, à un crash entre drums acérés et basses fréquences. pourtant, mathis mootz est capable de faire preuve de plus de raffinements... avec son projet m2 - prononcez à l'anglaise : "squaremeter" - il s'est orienté vers des constructions plus complexes. en trois ans et huit albums (!), il est passé d'un travail de décomposition rythmique, séquelle de ses activités sur le terrain de la drum-n-bass ("14id1610s"), à une approche plus abstraite qui a culminé sur "parsec". un opus à rapprocher de la "microscopic music" dispensée par ryoji ikeda, alva noto et consorts. étant ainsi passé d'un extrême à l'autre, mathis mootz semble avoir atteint désormais un point d'équilibre à partir duquel il forge de "diaboliques" atmosphères comme le prouve cet excellent album à la coloration dark-ambient très prononcée. presque un album concept dont la trame narrative est scandée à intervalle régulier par une voix spectrale... (ld)

black #31
mathis mootz hat wieder blut geleckt. eigentlich sollte mit "the bitter end" das kapitel squaremeter abgeschlossen werden. doch die frenetischen reaktionen auf seine liveshows und die damit verbundene, langsame infiltration der wuchtig dunklen ambientsets durch sich ständig pushende beats läßt ihn die faszinierenden klangwelten zwischen clicks'n'cuts, dark ambient und ethnorudimente um eine weitere komponente erweitern. auch wenn die eingeführte rhythmik auf "war of sound" noch lange nicht die härte und elektrisierende wirkung seiner auftritte der letzten anderthalb jahre besitzt, so ist sie doch die gelungene synthese, auf die so lange so viele gewartet haben. sich aufbauschende dunkle akkorde, dronige baßklänge, orientalischer gesang und ominöse sprachsamples (diesmal endgültig als verarbeitung der herr der ringe trilogie zu erkennen) und immer wieder die markenzeichen clicks und elektrostatischen entladungen, die den soundtexturen den futuristischen schliff geben. was auf den vorherigen alben immer zurückgehalten wurde und nur unter der oberfläche pulsierte, explodiert jetzt in richtigen beats. midtempo rhythmuskomplexe, die einmal in fahrt gekommen (und squaremeter nimmt sich wie immer zeit, bevor alle elemente an ihrem platz sind), alles andere überrollen. wie heißt es doch so schön bei panacea - automatic rewind torture. auch squaremeter kann ich mir ständig wieder zurückspulen. und ein weiteres album ist schon wieder in arbeit. 2003 fängt ja schnuckelig an. (till)

gothic beauty
doom dj /damnbient noise: the cry of morgoth borrows from a long forgotten recording about tolkien's silmarillion. vocals on these first three tracks carry the ominous narration that one expects to accompany such a reading. both discord and turbulent sound maintain this inauspicious theme further into the war of sound. each track contains the periodic clipping 'blip' noise as though a reel-to-reel track were demarking time and tape length at regular intervals. the next time you pick up the silmarillion for a bit of light reading, put the war of sound into perpetual rotation wherein you will feel as you read the passages exactly how mathis mootz conjures up the dense noise of hand-to-hand combat, and the all out carnage of war upon middle earth. (jett black)

prolific musician, mathis mootz, takes a break from his main project, panacea (and a host of other side-projects), to concentrate on his sixth full-length as m_, otherwise known as squaremeter. here we see mootz in ambient-mode, affording more room to experiment with intricate glitch-ridden electronica in more spacious surroundings. there are some delightful synth layers, particularly on 'turbulent sound', which will particularly appeal to analogue enthusiasts and mootz delights in adding extra seductive beats. unfortunately, accompanying the modernistic approach of the music are a collection samples of silmarillion prose, giving the album an almost spoken-word feel. the idea behind this was, in mootz opinion, to make the "ultimate satanic record". however, i found it a major distraction, continually interfering with alot of the tastefuly and well-crafted middle-eastern style arrangements, such as on the excellent 'discord (war of sound)'. the addition of these unecessary vocal samples, have, in my opinion, largely ruined what could have been a very good album. on top of that, one would have to say that mootz has also failed to achieve the "satanic" vibe he was looking for, instead delivering a confusing album, where ethereal electronica is blended with some rather tacky, innoportune 'dr who-style' vocal sampling, which serves up nothing more than a fatal stab in the heart to alot of mootz' hard-earned and imaginitive experimental/ethereal groundwork.

signal zero
une bande-son imaginaire pour le silmarilion de j.r.r tolkien. pavé aux dimensions mythologiques qui décrit la genèse des terres du milieu, la guerre qui opposa les premiers elfes à morgoth, prince de la nuit...qui d'autre que mathis mootz (panacea,rich kid,warfare,kate mosh...) pouvait se coltiner un concept pareil, digne d'un groupe de metal progressif à deux roubles et en sortir grandi ? toutes calquées sur un même schéma-fleuve, les plages s'ouvrent sur un assortiment de clicks, cuts, faux contacts, glitches. tous les ornements et stigmates de l'idm, qui n'évoquent que doucement l'univers de tolkien...ou alors c'est moi. parfois : des thèmes panacéens (mais à 80 bpm, forcement) titillent de leurs mains-serres décharnées la corde épique, tandis que layers et chants moyen orientaux donnent à l'ensemble la consistance des rêves. du beat aussi il y a. mais spectral, en retrait. noyé sous des strates de synthés congelés. « the cry of morgoth », « turbulent sound » et surtout « thus began also » et « in ages forgotten » vous ont aussi -il faut bien le dire- ce coté psytrance chillaouteuse de luxe (fendard quand on songe au nombre de gens qui vont apprécier cet album et préféreraient à priori se faire passer aux goudrons et aux plumes que se taper une bonne production t.i.p caution ant zen c'est plus classe en société que celle d'une bande de hippies phosphorescents même salement doués, pas vrai?). pour chaque plage, un narrateur à la voix traitée façon démiurge d'outre-espace déclame un passage du livre, histoire d'aiguiller les imaginations chauffées à blanc par le vortex de sons drones et d'atmosphères en volutes lentes. on pense pas mal aussi à l'ost de blade runner, surtout sur « discord (war of sound) ». 7 pistes, 7 morceaux-univers. des royaumes sonores entiers se bâtissent en direct, parfois sur 11 minutes bien lancinantes et suintantes dans leur narration : la stratégie des sables mouvants. ca se veut dark mais c'est surtout beau. le genre de disque qu'on s'envoie volontiers une boisson fraĒche à la main en guettant au balcon l'arrivée d'un orage d'été.

mathis mootz, aka panacea, has picked up the scent again. the previous album "the bitter end" was supposed to be the final chapter of squaremeter. but the enthusiastic reactions to his live sets and the parallel infiltration of the darkly majestic ambient sets with ever crescending beats pushed him to add another component to the fascinating soundspheres between clicks'n'cuts, dark ambient and world music resin. even if the embedded rhythmics on "war of sound" are still not possessing the crunchiness and electrifying effect his recent live performances have provided, it is nevertheless the desired synthesis so many have waited for. dark synth patches constantly pushing themselves to higher intensities, droning bass sounds, oriental vocals and ominous voice samples (this time around clearly identifiable as adaptation of the lord of the rings trilogy) and again and again the trademark clicks and electrostatic discharges that give the sound textures their futuristic flavor. what had been held back on the previous albums and which only pulsated under the surface now explodes with real beats. mid tempo rhythm structures which once they get rolling (and as usual squaremeter takes ample time before all elements are in their respective place) crush everything in their path. one of panacea's many catchy song titles is "automatic rewind torture". squaremeter has been on constant rewind as well. the next album is already in the works. what else to ask for. 2003 started off quite nicely. (till)

squaremeter könnte man auch anders betiteln: the dark side of mathis mootz. der vor allem mit seinem drum'n'bass-projekt panacea bekannte mootz, veröffentlichte dieser tage das sechste album" seines nebenprojekts squaremeter (m2) namens "war of sound, was eine beachtliche leistung ist, wenn man bedenkt, dass dieses projekt erst seit 1999 besteht! der elektroniker hat mal wieder ein zu seinem sonstigen musikalischen output völlig differenziertes opus geschaffen, das ganz auf düstere, teils langsame, teils treibende songs setzt. auf "war of sound" wird ein hauptthema, ähnlich einem soundtrack, in fast jedem song immer wiederkehrend behandelt. neben sich wiederholenden strukturen sind es aber vor allem die sprachsamples aus einer alten aufnahme des "silmarillions", welche die grenzen zwischen den einzelnen tracks verwischen und durch die tiefe, stark betonende stimme des sprechers dem ganzen album etwas diabolisches anhaften lässt. zwar ähneln sich einige der tracks, jedoch scheinen sie durch die vielen metamorphosen, die sie im laufe des albums erfahren, zu leben. squaremeter-typisch sind vor allem die vielen beeps und clicks, die sich durch verschiedene songs ziehen und manchmal gar etwas störend wirken.

music non stop
hard to believe that revolutionary hardcore drum'n'bass producer mathis mootz ( more commonly known as panacea ) releases here his sixth full length album as m2 ( pronounced "squaremeter" ) in keeping with an unrelenting drive to push himself, mootz delivers a complete and total evolution in m2's ethos with "war of sound". "war of sound" builds in slow, deliberate movements, carefully establishing a dark chord progression in the introductory "the cry of morgoth" that flows throughout the album. this ominous motive is enriched by mootz' liberal use of vocal elements - both as a focal point via heart-wrenching voice solos and the evil-toned narration from the silmarillion, and as somber texture in the distant sounds of a purgatorial choir. on the 2nd track, "turbulent sound," more characteristically clickish m2 sounds penetrate war of sound's macabre fabric, where laptop glitch elements akin to sinecore's microsound aesthetic pepper the music before cracking into a blistering break that foreshadows the tempestuous driving synth pulse of "discord (war of sound)." "the music seized" offers a melodic respite with gentle ambient tones that makes the metal-tinged pounding of "the scourges of fire" the malevolent zenith of war of sound, with its thunderous echo and martial tempo. the rancor continues into the denouement, "thus began also...," another glitch-filled affair married to overtones of synth oblivion. "war of sound" ends on the prophetic minor chords of "in ages forgotten:" and the melodies which had been heard before foundered in a sea of turbulent sound. special cardboard packaging with metallic paper.

certains éléments sont permanents à m2 : une ossature de click'n'cut minimaliste ainsi qu'une voix filtrée et méchanique déclinant à l'infinie des extraits tirés des ouvrages de j. r.r. tolkien (références à morgoth et aux balrogs). voilà pour la structure principale, rédhibitoire aux sept titres de war of sound. la musique prend alors toute son ampleur lorsque, de façon empirique, les nappes, beats, drones et autres murs de son s'empilent les uns sur les autres, jusqu'à l'étouffement, rejoignant ainsi les frontières de l'infiniment simple, au confins de l'espace généré par une multitude de couches sonores superposées et cependant identifiables. il ne faut pas hésiter à se laisser porter, car les titres sont longs et prennent leur temps pour réellement démarrer. mais en général, les fins sont toujours en apothéose. s'il fallait ne retenir que quelques moments, le choix serait difficile. the cry of morgoth, qui ouvre le disque, reste l'exemple le plus probant du style de m2. drones et nappes ambients plutôt sombres, récitations comme des prévisions apocalyptiques, et mélodies électro-martiales typiques pour des premières minutes prometteuses. discord (war of sound) et son ambiance tribale agrémentée de fréquences aigues et groove éléphantesque ou le downtempo oriental et chant traditionel éthéré pour l'excellent the music seized. mention spéciale à thus began also..., alliant la douceur du sitar au chant profond de lisa gerrard, ici samplée, le tout porté par un beat lourd et légérement noisy. pas encore une oeuvre unique, mais une tendance personnelle à mélanger les atmosphères et les genres. comme une nouvelle façon de rendre audible des images mentales à l'orée du sublime.

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