The Infected Mass
CST122      CD 180gLP MP3 FLAC
Reviews
"Patton has created something deeply moving with The Infected Mass. It’s a rare example of an ambient work successfully engaging with themes often reserved for other mediums, and it has the potential to profoundly shake its listeners. Ultimately, this music communicates not only a sense of grief but also one of hope, perhaps hope in an afterlife, as the religious language of the album and track titles suggests. The result is an unsettling but beautiful score to a catastrophe."
Exclaim 9/10

"There’s no doubting that this is a conceptually heavy album but there’s a deftness of touch and an elegance to it that is utterly beguiling. Despite there being something of a moral ambiguity about the use of [certain] recordings, his treatment of them is remarkably poignant and affecting. The use of human sounds such as the flow of blood means that there’s life all over this album, even in the moments when death comes rushing in and that is somehow reassuring. There are some recordings that lodge themselves in your brain and fundamentally change something about your very being. For those who have experienced the trauma of loss, The Infected Mass is a sermon that offers considerable solace."
MusicOhm ★★★★1/2

"Sometimes creative works come along which you know instinctively from the get go are going to be a particularly arduous and difficult journey to undertake. One where the emotional resonance is so intense that you feel an anticipation rising inside your very being. The first album by composer Matthew Patton under the moniker Those Who Walk Away is one of those experiences, one which has expressed the intentions of the artist in such a perfectly beautiful way that it is almost impossible to describe. An incredibly moving and haunting piece of work…A truly powerful experience to immerse oneself in, and one that feels completely unforgettable."
Echoes And Dust

"Patton’s process comments on memory, honor and repetition... One senses that the production proved therapeutic, if not entirely healing; the grief continues to drip after the last chord has disappeared. The sense of tension is palpable as the recordings unfold, the silences arriving quicker, the orchestras unable to play until they gather their emotions, the wreckage strewn across the grass, all communication eradicated. To listen uncomfortably is to zero in on the nature of grief, especially sudden grief.  The mourning never really ends, it only mutates.  As much as these dark imaginings tumble in the mind, they never truly settle. As an expression of such grief ~ playing what cannot be named ~ Patton’s work is a success, albeit an apologetic one."
A Closer Listen

"This piece by Canadian composer Matthew Patton opens with a sussurus of wind noise and the kind of low drone heard in aeroplanes, to which are gradually added 'ghost strings' and a 'ghost choir' of sibilant tones, creating an eerie but oddly warm enveloping ambience. Then he folds in cockpit voice recordings from planes in distress, an initially shocking development – these people are about to die, for heaven’s sake – which he himself admits 'feels so wrong'. But it works: as we hear these people calmly trying to solve predicaments which prompt panic even in the listener, their nobility is affirmed on a deeply emotional level. Patton, whose brother died in a plane crash, claims the music is 'filled with ghosts and artefacts I couldn’t erase', and The Infected Mass, a shifting palimpsest of strings, voices, drones and noises, bears out that belief. It’s a minimalist, musique concrète elegy whose drifting character allows reflection without undue emotional prompting, and is all the more powerfully moving for it."
The Independent ★★★★

"Is there in creative expression, as there is in journalism, a line that separates an assumed 'duty to report' from the violation of privacy and from a shared code of conduct? It's absurd, even paradoxical that in this historic moment in which the daily life tragedy of the world slips away from us, someone is still capable of declaring a work of genius in an act of dubious morality, of a kind whose ultimate goal obviously isn't merely that of being provocative, the kind with which contemporary galleries are squashed full. Certainly the new project of the Canadian composer and sound artist Matthew Patton is so far from what could be in bad taste or morbidness: Those Who Walk Away is his personal elegy…the painful memory of a family's mourning, treated with a self-control and delicate narrative that not even an inattentive listen could ever mistake for a lack of respect for the victims and the survivors. It's neither an accident nor undeserved that even  William Basinksi, whose magnum opus is born out of the post 9/11 trauma, has described The Infected Mass as work 'of devastating beauty'. It is extremely rare to find works maintaining such a balance between a stringent detachment and infinite compassion. There is a fine line between them, more than dangerous, easily prone to a didacticism or choices that are inappropriate. Those Who Walk Away promises to continue to conduct itself within these coordinates, and the Infected Mass celebrated here is a further step in the redefinition of an artistic sensibility in the postmodern period."
Ondarock (translated from the Italian)

"Paul Taylor has choreographed a masterpiece for our time. 'Speaking in Tongues' takes on the only-too-obvious theme of good and evil and transforms it into dramatic suspense, creating a contemporary morality play…Matthew Patton's collage score hangs heavily in the air…" The New York Times (on the 1988 Paul Taylor dance piece scored by Matthew Patton)
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"Devastatingly beautiful." – William Basinski
 
"Deeply moving...a rare example of an ambient work successfully engaging with themes often reserved for other mediums, it has the potential to profoundly shake its listeners...an unsettling but beautiful score to a catastrophe." – Exclaim 9/10
 
"There are some recordings that lodge themselves in your brain and fundamentally change something about your very being. For those who have experienced the trauma of loss, The Infected Mass is a sermon that offers considerable solace." – MusicOhm ★★★★1/2
 
"An incredibly moving and haunting piece of work…A truly powerful experience to immerse oneself in, and one that feels completely unforgettable." – Echoes and Dust
 
"A minimalist, musique concrète elegy whose drifting character allows reflection without undue emotional prompting, and is all the more powerfully moving for it." – The Independent ★★★★
 
 

 
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Description
Those Who Walk Away is the project of Winnipeg-based composer Matthew Patton, which he describes as an "ever evolving working group of melodic constructivists." Patton is perhaps best known for his highly acclaimed (and Emmy Award-winning collaboration) Speaking In Tongues with the choreographer Paul Taylor, and has worked with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Guy Maddin and many others. He is also the curator of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival. The Infected Mass is the first of several works Patton intends to release as Those Who Walk Away.
 
The Infected Mass is a haunted and profoundly emotive requiem of minimalist composition that combines ghostly strings and choral voices with musique concrète; melodic passages rise and fall amidst rumbling and sibilant drones sourced from humming and whispering voices and the sound of human blood flow, punctuated by cockpit voice recordings of airplanes in distress.
 
Patton explains: "There is something very genuine and at the same time very wrong in what I am doing. The recordings are very disturbing; as we listen to these cockpit voice recordings, real people are about to die. I don't know why I am doing something that feels so wrong. But I am. This work is disturbingly personal for me. The music is filled with ghosts and artifacts I couldn't erase. It is filled to the saturation point with a pathology which infects everything, of decayed memories haunted by the ghost of my brother, who was killed in a plane crash."
 
The Infected Mass is a powerful work of contemporary sacral music, executed with elegiac beauty and restraint. Recorded in Winnipeg and Reykjavik, a quintet of Winnipeg-based string players combines with a quartet of Iceland Symphony Orchestra players (who've previously played on Sigur Rós, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Bedroom Community recordings) performing 'ghost strings' and 'ghost choir' for this Mass. Patton, as composer, arranger and producer, then obsessively sculpts these recordings with erasure techniques, seeking liminal and transcendent horizons of sonic materiality through absence, subtraction, silence and collapsing structure. An artistic statement of Morton Feldman's is a guiding principle for Patton: "Silence is my substitute for counterpoint. It’s like thinning out the music with turpentine."
 
The Infected Mass is available digitally and on deluxe 180gram audiophile vinyl and CD with original artwork by Neil Farber and Micheal Dumontier, alumni of the Royal Art Lodge in Winnipeg. Thanks for listening.
 
Release date: 17 March 2017
Running time: 49:06
 
Packaging notes
CD comes in a custom mini-gatefold jacket printed on thick 24pt. paperboard with matte UV varnish and a printed inner dust sleeve for the disc. LP is pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket printed on 100% recycled 24pt Orford paperboard with black poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve, with a 12-page 12"x12" art booklet featuring specially-commissioned artwork by Royal Art Lodge alumni Neil Farber and Michael Dumontier, and a download code for 320kbps MP3 copy of the album.
 
Tracklist
1 Before the Beginning
2 First Degraded Hymn
3 First Partially Recollected Conversation
4 Second Degraded Hymn
5 Second Partially Recollected Conversation
6 Third Degraded Hymn
7 After the End

 
Credits
PERSONNEL
Composed, arranged and produced by Matthew Patton
 
Elation Pauls: violin
Anne Elise Lavallée: viola
Momoko Matsumura: viola
Minna Chung: cello
Travis Harrison: double bass
 
Una Sveinbjarnardóttir: ghost violin, ghost choir
Þórunn Ósk Marinósdóttir: ghost viola, ghost choir
Margrét Árnadóttir: ghost cello, ghost choir
Borgur Magnason: ghost double bass
 
Matthew Patton: samples, field recordings, processing
 
Recorded at The Greenhouse, Reykjavik, Iceland and at Private Ear, Winnipeg, Canada
 
Andy Rudolph: co-production, mixing, sound design (Winnipeg)
Paul Corley: sound design (Iceland)
 
John Paul Peters and Joel Mierau: recording engineers (Winnipeg)
Paul Evans: recording engineer (Iceland)
 
Mastered at Grey Market Mastering by Harris Newman
 
Artwork by Neil Farber and Michael Dumontier