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Kyle Bates and Lula Asplund – A Matinee LP

Whited Sepulchre

A Matinee is the first collaborative full-length from Kyle Bates and Lula Asplund. All at once intimate and expansive, dense and diaphanous, it is perhaps best thought of in terms of pilgrimage.

In August, 2021 Bates and Asplund trekked to the Unknown, the famed destination church-turned-studio in Anacortes, WA co-owned by Phil Elverum (The Microphones / Mt. Eerie) and engineer Nich Wilbur. With Wilbur at the controls, Bates and Asplund executed A Matinee in one afternoon, using an array of instruments and devices ranging from a Casio SK-1 and a homemade Glockenspiel to computer programs and niche modular synthesizers like the Buchla Easel.

Bates and Asplund first met as students at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music (fka the San Francisco Tape Music Center) where they studied with experimental luminaries Pauline Oliveros, Laetitia Sonami, James Fei, Zeena Parkins, Meredith Monk, and Christopher Davidson. It is from this milieu that the duo proceeds, and fans of any of these artists will appreciate A Matinee, as will anyone previously hypnotized by Asplund’s phantasmagoric solo works for processed voice. But just as crucial to the sonic character of this record is the homespun spirit of the Pacific Northwest and its rich history of DIY projects. Bates’s granular computer processing of Asplund’s voice nods to the aesthetics of that Mills College lineage; but by layering in the unmistakably lo-fi Casio SK-1 sampling, Bates and Asplund nod to the home recording warmth of early Smog, Mirah or any number of K Records artists. And Bates himself, with his Drowse project, has often experimented with such high / low blending, to great effect.

There is a wide variety of sounds employed here, but it is in the service of a singular spirit, a unified sound brought to life by the hallowed cornices of that church-turned-studio. Asplund, in fact, conceives of A Matinee’s execution as capturing the air of the space upon projecting sounds into it. Far from incidental, the space of the studio itself was the very means for interpreting and intermingling these otherwise divergent fidelities.

All of this is present on A Matinee not only in layers, but as a kind of path as well. While the record’s first half is dedicated to the dense and rippling drone of “Brocken Spectre” –– something that will appeal to fans of Sarah Davachi, Kali Malone, or Éliane Radigue –– the second half, “Visitor,” gently picks its way through a variety of sounds to arrive at a plaintive and intimate duet for two slightly off-tuned acoustic guitars and clean, close vocals. The sounds themselves, it seems, have embarked on a kind of pilgrimage, the ultimate site of which is a place where the personal, even the vulnerable, is elevated.


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SKU 210000108807
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SKU 210000108807