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act 198 · squaremeter · the frozen spark · cd

morphia, white breach, acr flow, second angle, diffraction, gazed radiation, reanimation limit, deviation.

"you never heard squaremeter this dark" (from act168 release info)

'the frozen spark' will be a surprise to those who thought squaremeter's musical direction would be calculable. mathis mootz's new masterpiece tears you down - deep down. once there were nearly danceable rhythms, eastern influences, and brightness - now there is a maelstrom of reverberation, tormented voices, ultra-slow beats and haunting sound manipulation - sheer darkness.

b.lustmord was mentioned as a possible inspiration to squaremeter and now it seems, mootz's intention for this album was to create a 21st century 'paradise disowned' that is coupled with an imaginary soundtrack to a 'the seventh sign' sequel. we try to avoid 'name-dropping' but the music on this cd can be also defined as an antipode to the early biosphere, or as a logical improvement of the darker morthound phase. different grades of volume, and sometimes silence, are magnificiantly well-placed -forcing you to listen. 'the frozen spark' is a collection of ritualistic electronic compositions to accompany rituals you can't imagine in your greatest nightmares - the melodic lines in 'diffraction' and 'reanimation limit' only promise a deceitful salvation.

now you have never heard squaremeter this dark...

m2 discography. 05.2k5:
m2. 14id1610s. cd. ant-zen act98. 2000
m2. sinecore. cd, mille plateaux mp 088 cd. 2000
m2. kopyright liberation. lp. ant-zen act109. 2000
m2 / needle sharing. mono brutal. lp. hands v023. 2000
m2. parsec. cd. hands d020. 2001
m2 / xingu hill. this anxious space. cd, hymen records ¥717. 2001
m2. the bitter end. cd. hands d036. 2002
m2. war of sound. cd. ant-zen act148. 2003
m2. aswad. cd. ant-zen act168. 2004
m2. the frozen spark. cd. ant-zen act198. 2005

more info on m2 and m.mootz' projects:


squaremeter is het ambient project van mathis mootz die ook bekend staat onder de naam panacea, waarmee hij een door drum 'n bass en hiphop beinvloede variant op hardcore industrial maakt. met squaremeter tapt hij echter uit een beduidend ander experimenteel vaatje. dit album maakte me enorm nieuwsgierig daar ik de vorige twee releases van squaremeter echt fantastisch vond. war of sound en zeker aswad zijn ambient albums die zwaar beinvloed zijn door orientaalse klanken en dubritmes en vormden een perfecte exotische futuristische geluidstrip. de ritmes sloten natuurlijk aan op de gitzwarte ambient klanken en zorgden voor een luchtig aandeel in de op zich zware en bedrukkende muziek. op the frozen spark is elke vorm van luchtigheid echter verdwenen en zijn er geen funky ritmes meer te bespeuren. wel tref je op dit album koude industriele geluiden in de geest van clock dva of lustmord aan, gekoppeld aan harmonische ambient klanken. in 8 tracks wordt je geconfronteerd met een verstilde, ijzige kant van squaremeter die bijna diametraal lijkt te staan op de dynamiek en beweging zoals we die aantroffen op war of sound en aswad. dit album bevat beangstigende geluiden vergelijkbaar met die van uiteenlopende acts als clock dva, lustmord of biosphere. de paar momenten met harmonische melodielijnen zoals te horen zijn in 'diffraction' of 'reanimation limit' is enkel om je op het verkeerde been te zetten. dit album gaat diep en is intens mooi. (teknoir)

squaremeter is the ambient project of mathis mootz, who is also known under the monicker panacea, with which he makes a hardcore industrial blend influenced by drum 'n basss and hiphop. with squaremeter he taps from a completely different experimental vein. this album makes me very curious since i really liked the previous two releases of squaremeter. war of sound and especially aswad are ambient albums that are heavily influenced by oriental sounds and dubrhythms that create a perfect exotic futuristic auditive trip. the rhythms naturally combined with the bleak ambient sounds and created a light-weighted contribution to the overall heavy and oppressing music. at the frozen spark every aspect of lightness is gone and there are no funky rhythms left. instead you will find cold industrial sounds in the spirit of clock dva or lustmord, combined with harmonic ambient sounds. in 8 tracks you will be confronted with a frozen, icy side of squaremeter that appears to be almost diametrical to the dynamics and movement such as we found in war of sound and aswad. this album contains frigtening sounds comparable to those of various acts like clock dva, lustmord or biosphere. the few moments with harmonic melodylines such as can be heard in 'diffraction' or 'reanimation limit' is just to trick you. this album goes deep and is intensely beautiful. (teknoir)

après l'anecdotique aswad, c'est le grand retour de mathias mootz alias m2, qui est aussi l'artisan de panacea. cette fois, m2 a décidé d'investir les catacombes et de surprendre ceux qui pensaient le voir continuer à asséner ses beats saturés, à peine polis par sa récente escapade touristique orientale. the frozen spark est un album de dark ambient version mootz. on y retrouve dans certains détails la grandiloquence de l'allemand, qui renvoie toujours à l'électro des eighties, jusque dans les sons de basses synthétiques aux échos baroques. on pense évidemment à lustmord, l'incarnation même du genre, mais aussi aux premières digressions ambient de groupes électro, à l'instar des premiers delerium. la mélodie est souvent présente, ouvrant les espaces souterrains à la lumière. mootz ne peut s'empêcher d'ouvrir des portes, des portes lourdes qui claquent d'un son métallique dès que la lumière tente de s'infiltrer dans les bas-fonds dans lesquels il s'est réfugié. certains feulements trahissent cette démangeaison de retrouver le rythme. on peut donc voir the frozen spark comme un prolongement logique de l'œuvre tourmentée de m2, le projet le plus évolutif de mathis mootz. cet album inattendu confirme la dextérité de l'alien de l'électro allemande, et révèle une émotivité jusque là bien cachée. (jérôme langlais)

after having heard the frozen spark you will be either totally left stunned or fast asleep. if you like dark ambient music this is one of the best records since a long time and also one of the best recent releases from ant-zen. it is very simple, if you are interested in the dark world of sounds of lustmord you will love this record. many sounds and moods on the frozen spark are reminiscent of classic lustmord. deep, slow, and dark visions of unpleasant encounters and desolate places are made part of your perception while listening. there are a few lighter moments, but these untrue and only the introductions of more darkness. squaremeter aka m2 alternates a lot with different volumes during the pieces and on the record as a whole. there are even moments of silence. these give an extra effect to the experience of the music and make it even more nightmarish. the frozen spark will not disappoint the listener or become boring after some time. it will only put people to sleep that are immune for music and sounds. and they will have a nightmare. (mvg)

vital weekly
after the jungle-based project panacea, german sound artist mathis mootz, started another interesting project m2 (pronounced: squaremeter) back in 2000. with the albums sinecore (2000) released on mille plateaux and parsec (2001) on hands recordings, mathis mootz changed his musical direction into micro sounds and clicks'n'cuts. on the two previously released albums as m2 he changed focus once again this time into a more ambient-oriented world with the albums "war of sound" (2003) and aswad (2004) both out on ant zen recordings. "war of sound" was thematically based on j.r.r. tolkien's "silmarillion". it was a beat-driven album of dark and hostile ambience. "aswad" continued the dark ambient approach but with a more middle eastern touch to the evil sound. with his latest release titled "the frozen spark", m2 has taken the whole step into ambient leaving all signs of rhythm-based sound structure behind. the album contains a wide range of moods and atmospheres spanning from sinister and dark to a more melancholic and melodic expression. opening with deep rumbling drones of noise added industrial sounds, cavernous noises and other concrete sounds, the album soon after is embellished by gentle and grandiose soundscapes of electronic orchestration. with an excellent expressional mixture of darkness and beauty, of noise and gentle sounds, the album sounds like some mixture between lustmord's album "paradise disowned" (1984) and biosphere's "substrata" (1997) with a few doses of early aphex twin and irresistible force added. "the frozen spark" is arguably the most successful journey by squaremeter into the world of ambient sound. highly recommended! (nmp)

wreck this mess
des nappes sombres et des textures rêches au mètre-cube, si l'on ose dire... après war of sound et aswad, mathis mootz aka m2 (squaremeter) persiste et signe dans une veine dark-ambient / post-indus. avec ces atmosphères caverneuses et inquiétantes, il s'inscrit, pour reprendre les termes de la feuille d'info, comme le légitime successeur de lustmord. et notre étonnement est toujours aussi vif de voir celui qui s'adonnait avec force à la drill-n-bass, sous le nom de panacea, pratiquer désormais ce genre "rituel électronique" sombre et dérangeant... (ld)

chain d.l.k.
ok, i have been living in a cave for the last few years and have not heard squaremeter before, nor had i heard any panacea. first off, this was not what i expected from an ant-zen release. if you are looking for rhythmic noise, this is not one to pick up. but you should give it a shot anyway if you are in to engaging music that blends ambient textures with noise and the occasional burst of rhythms. the promo material states that "b. lustmord was mentioned as a possible inspiration to squaremeter and now it seems, mootz's intention for this album was to create a 21st century "paradise disowned" that is coupled with an imaginary soundtrack to a "the seventh sign" sequel." i would not really call this standard dark ambient. although there are some lustmord-like elements here (i'm thinking specifically of monstrous soul) this is a bit more complex and engaging but sometimes that complexity gets in the way. on to the music. i really liked the first half of this disc. for me, the standout tracks were "white breach" and "acr flow" and "gazed radiation". all of these manage to use elements of dark ambient while adding just enough elements of noise, synth pad, and beat to remain engaging to the listener. not quite the kind of thing that you could just put on and read with, but pleasant listening. "second angle" was also nice and would sound right at home in a science fiction film. on the down side, i was not too into the other tracks. "diffraction" has a staccato synth line that gets a bit too repetitive. "reanimation limit" has good elements as well, but also has some synth elements that just didn't seem to work. "deviation" is ok and starts to get a bit more chaotic and noisy toward the end, which was a welcome change of pace after "reanimation limit," but it never seemed to let go and unload with both barrels. overall, when the music is good, it's really good. when it's not so good, it's still not too bad, because half of the tracks are structured in such a way that it is like having two or three tracks in one so the parts that are not terribly good are not that long. squaremeter does do a good job of using silence in his tracks to add tension, which is becoming a lost art. so while this disc is sort of a mixed bag, it's still a disc worth checking out. i have a feeling that this is the kind of disc that gets better with repeated listenings. (brett "eskaton")

it's been interesting to watch mathis mootz's evolution over the last few squaremeter records: working through middle eastern beats, spoken word renderings of the silmarillion and quasar dub music. the frozen spark is a further evolution, taking mootz inward. this is a soundtrack to dark places, a cardiogenic pulse which reverberates through the grosser tissue in the unlight corners of your thorax. mootz builds slowly simmering tracks out of singular elements, allowing them space to reverberate and decay into microscopic granularity. "white breach" is composed of the elongated shriek of a dying bird, the echo of a gunshot in a wind tunnel, the distant thrum of magma eruptions and the shivering echo of distorted flamenco guitar (looped back at 1/100 speed). "second angle" shivers with the snick of steel, groans with a choir of ghostly voices and shudders with the hammer of distant pile drivers in a space of inpenetrable darkness. vast electrical storms hover in the distance in "diffraction" while electric piano chords tintinnabulate over the distant thunder-phonics. "gazed reflection" is filled with the mighty exhalation of ancient dragons, steam clouds which descend upon a frightened city that is trying to ward off a sky black with these beasts by ringing every bell they can. it's all for naught and "reanimation limit" is the dirge of the decimated civilization, burned to the ground. a wave of amplified cellos drifts across the ruined city scape while the wordless cry of vaporized citizens cry out for their fallen heroes. this is the music of the fall, the endless descent down onto the burning lake where the only stars are those spirits falling with you. a bleak offspring of lustmord's paradise disowned and benny nilsen's morthound release the goddess who could make the ugly world beautiful, the frozen spark captures light and squeezes it, compressing it into a black echo which smears itself across the world. (mark teppo)

cold room
pour ce nouvel album, m2 change d'orientation et abandonne les facettes de son travail utilisées sur "aswad" ou "war of sound". l'objet de "the frozen spark" est l'épure d'une musique ambiante glaciale et polaire, un peu dans la veine de "project arctic", mais y ajoutant tout de même plus de vie grâce aux (rares) éléments rythmiques et aux quelques chœurs hantant ces espaces nus et blancs. de délicates mélodies éthérées embrument les lieux et donnent la chair de poule, amplifiant le sentiment de solitude et de vide. malgré cela il en ressort un certain apaisement, une sérénité indistincte, par moment brisée par de petites incursions électroniques (gazed radiation). cependant, la méditation ne tardera pas à reprendre le dessus dès la plage suivante. m2 a su changer de cap sans décevoir en provoquant de nouvelles sensations, intimes et intenses.

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