Album Review: Mats Gustafsson - 'Piano Mating' (Vinyl LP)

I think my mum hoovered a lot when I was little, I think this because the noise of a vacuum cleaner sends shivers down my spine in a warm, comforting way. It holds me to its chest, soothes me, sings gentle lullabies and rocks me to sleep. Even when I can hear my neighbour hoover their living room I sit in my own messy silence and beg the walls to reverberate the sound for a few seconds longer. This static builds a nest for me, makes every hair on my body stand to attention, makes my skin feel like hair follicles being gently warmed by a hairdryer. I am at peace when I hear a vacuum. Likewise, Mats Gustafsson’s Piano Mating LP draws the exact same response.

Side A sounds like the end times, like a siren signalling an inevitable evacuation to Martian plains where life shall have to learn to breathe again. As the sixteen minutes and fourty seconds draw themselves over the red soil of imagination, only the knowledge that the record will soon stop, and will have to be restarted or flipped keeps any part of the body on Earth. The hand lingers behind, ready to repeat the track, to keep the soul orbital for just a few second’s longer.

Side B is the heavier of the two tracks, yet the more transcendental and meditative. There is a joyful peace in the ever-growing drone, reminiscent of an drawn-out version of Brian Eno’s wonderful 'Big Ship'. This ascendant music for those who dare to descend, those who dare to drop and rest, this is the soundtrack to picking yourself back up. Gustafsson’s Dubreq Pianomate coats the walls around the listener with a thick layer of comfort and calm, grounding anxieties as if finally learning that your greatest fears can wait.

Piano Mating proves that Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records may be one of the most exciting, individualistic, fearless labels currently in operation. Currently selling vinyl, tape, and (beautiful looking) t-shirt subscriptions, the label has shown time and time again that they aren’t afraid to deal with the unknown. Make the most of them, they’re worth every penny of investment.

Album Review by Aaron Kent