I want to share with you two reviews for my album Maalbeek, which was released a few months ago. If you are interested in more, the album is available here
(and at many other stores). That page includes samples of all the tracks.
A full length track is available on my own pageStephen Fruitmansonomu.net
I would choose to classify the music of Matthew Florianz as ambient traditionalist or rather, "originalist", in the sense that he maintains an unsettling, sombre tone throughout his work, restricts his palette, and like Brian Eno and Harold Budd before him, creates atmospheres and "landscapes" hitherto unheard and only possible to visit through sound. Shut your eyes and you shall see.
Like his earlier albums, Maalbeek evokes someplace where no one else is - and it is a place that is vast. It is a place where the sun is always hidden by cloud, without vegetation, smoothed over, leaving space for your own imagination to wander. Your imagination becomes your avatar in this strange land. To create this very special feeling of comforting desolation he uses synthesizers and piano, but never anything resembling a conventional melody will decorate the landscape as his fingers grace the keyboards.
As fine and consistent an artist vision as you can find. Paul LloydIgloo Magazine
(03.09.08) Maalbeek is Matthew Florianz’s latest release on H/S Recordings. Taking its name from a wooded area that straddles the Holland/Germany border, Maalbeek is a place that Florianz visits often to walk and absorb the natural beauty of the diverse range of colours, atmospheres and foliage it offers. As the primary influence for this album it is considerably more minimal and ambient than the moody complexity of Niemandsland before it. Even the artwork is taken from a rediscovered drawing from 1997.
One of the beauties of Florianz’s work is the way that it is able to create intense moods and atmospheres from beginning to end. Often, Florianz will record his albums on location, whether that is on a windswept shore (Openstage) or the relative safety of an apartment building (Molenstraat). Recording his music live and often improvised on location lends a whole new level of environmental awareness to his recordings and, although Maalbeek is not recorded in this way, it bears all the hallmarks of Florianz’s ability of translate the mood and feeling in his mind into music for others to experience. Maalbeek itself, like all of Florianz’s work, is completely unrushed and slowly and deliberately unfolds and expands at just the right pace. “Belfeld”, the opening track, is so wonderfully serene and languid that you can feel the cool water lap around you as you float effortlessly downstream without a care in the world. At other times, the mood is slightly more anxious, windswept and melancholy; “Spiegelend” for example. Even then, Florianz’s work has an undeniable serenity to it, almost considerate and comforting as if sharing an experience. Another aspect of his work is that it comes across as intensely personal, almost as though he is indirectly sharing his innermost thoughts and experiences by creating moods and sonic imagery to relay those feelings and share them with his listeners in a giving and almost therapeutic way. Maalbeek however is less intensely emotional than some of his previous works but purveys a sense of calm, control and composure that the quiet beauty of isolation in a forest might bring. He does this through layers of floating, almost orchestral synth tones that gently flood the senses with an air of tranquil, spacious serenity. By its close, Maalbeek gently drifts away, steadily becoming quieter and slowly fading away until it is gone completely.
Alongside the Maalbeek album, H/S Recordings has funded a professionally produced CDR release entitled Drie exclusively as a thank you for those people who purchased the Niemandsland boxset, essentially financing the release. Seen by Florianz as the last in an arc of releases encompassing Self, Three, Niemandsland, Jaren and Drie itself, this album is generally in keeping with the ambient atmosphere of Maalbeek but more reminiscent of Florianz’s previous works in being drone based, considerably darker and more ominous in mood. Clocking in at a fraction over an hour and covering nine tracks, Drie is a full album in its own right, building in mood as it progresses. Taking the listener on a journey from shadowy rumbling dronescapes through glistening radiant tones and on to dark swathes of drifting sound, Drie may be dark and desolate but it is also strangely comforting and possesses an uneasy sense of calm.
Although not particularly prolific, Florianz makes each of his releases count by keeping a close ear on quality control. Each of his albums offers him a new sonic canvas on which to translate his sonic imagery and he never fails to produce the best ambient music he can offer. Florianz is a master of intense environmental ambient music that can make great background music but is only truly appreciated with focused listening in seclusion, preferably with headphones, where it can be given the attention it deserves.