Annie Mahtani

… an exciting prospect, and one which I’m happy to report broadly lived up to expectations. Tempo, UK

… she’s very sensitive to the entire surrounding area, hoping to capture the truth of a locale. The Sound Projector, UK

CD (IMED 19158)

  • Label: empreintes DIGITALes
  • IMED 19158
  • 2019
  • UCC 771028215829
  • Total duration: 57:46
  • OGpak
  • 125 mm × 125 mm × 10 mm
  • 50 g

Download (IMED 19158_NUM)

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In the press

Review: CDs and DVDs

Richard Barrett, Tempo, no. 75:295, December 17, 2020
… an exciting prospect, and one which I’m happy to report broadly lived up to expectations.
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Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector, December 22, 2019

English composer Annie Mahtani studied with Jonty Harrison in Birmingham, and does electronic music, electroacoustic composition, free improvisation, and installations; she expresses an interest in environmental recordings. Five very recent pieces on Racines, of which the earliest dates from 2008. The stories behind these contain her written observations about the very specific places where they were made, or where the original recordings were captured; it’s evident she’s very sensitive to the entire surrounding area, hoping to capture the truth of a locale. I like her subdued, pared-down approach on Past Links, which remains very coherent as it attempts to take on the form of a living museum in sound, using objects from a museum in Dudley to tell the story of the industrial past of the Black Country. Round Midnight derives from her time in the Amazon rainforest, working with Francisco López; having heard my fair share of recordings of frogs, insects, birds and rainfall, I can safely say Mahtani’s is one of the most interesting entries in an over-crowded field. In her hands, the locale becomes an intense, bubbling cauldron of life; the power of nature, cubed. Equally subdued and focussed is Inversions, involving a strange tale of 5000 figures carved out of ice at some open-air exhibit; she creates a minimalist humming atmosphere which may have been derived from the sounds of chiselling and melting ice. Scary; at times it seemed these icy figures were coming to life, forming an army and preparing for an invasion. There’s also Aeolian made from wind recordings in Northumberland, and the very touching (and personal) Racines tordues, about a family tragedy which has evidently deepened her and made her stronger. A most excellent set by Mahtani.

… she’s very sensitive to the entire surrounding area, hoping to capture the truth of a locale.


Roger Batty, Musique Machine, September 3, 2019

Racines is a five-track album of that sits somewhere between electroacoustic composition, and subtle scuttling- to-surreal ambient sound-scaping. All creating a decidedly dream-like release — that ebbs, lightly darts and lulling shifts. Annie Mahtani is British based composer from the midlands — and has been active since around 2008. Her work flits between acousmatic and free improv — which means there is often a feeling of both surreal atmospherics and structural spontaneity / looseness to her compositions.

This CD album / digital download appears on the French Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes — and the CD is presented in the labels house style fold-out card sleeve — that features write-up about each of the tracks and their themes, in both French and English. The front cover takes in a grey graded and black tar-like spurting picture — that looks akin to melted and twisted road afloat in white space.

The five works here come from between 2008 and this year — and throughout much of the release, there’s certainly a feasting and shifting feel to proceeds, which brought to my mind images of magnified organic material. Past Links finds a blend of gentle rushing and fleeting high pitch grain sweeps, cluttering & glitching gong tones, and sourly descend sine tones. ’Round Midnight is built around rapidly building, then receding and possible slightly speed up layers of field recordings from the Amazon jungle — with all manner hissing, croaking, wet rushing, and twitting been fed out. The track Aeolian really enhances the albums strange / fevered dream quality — as we get a blend one or two distant drone layers, brooding warbling with sudden darts of bird song, water rushing. The track later builds into these weird metallic pipe like rattle & clutter textures — before once more drop down into a blend of distant drone layers, and subtle strange field record detail.

For much of Racines runtime there is this feeling of hazy mystery, grey unease, and slightly troubled dream-ness. So to me felt it little odd the way the final track exists with this more rising warm, and a little twee ethno ambience vibe, but maybe that’s meant to be the listener getting brighter / better dreams… anyway, aside from this sudden glaring shift in tone, I enjoyed what Annie Mahtani had to offer here.

… I enjoyed what Annie Mahtani had to offer here.


Frank P Eckert, Groove, June 27, 2019

[…] Ähnliches lässt sich aber genauso gut mit einer strengen kompositorisch-konzeptuellen Arbeitsweise erreichen: Die britische Komponistin Annie Mahtani nimmt auf ihrem Debüt Racines (empreintes DIGITALes) das „ernste” Genre der akademisch neutönenden Elektroakustik und übersetzt es in elektronische Klänge, die in ihrer nahbaren Ästhetik mitten im Ambient angekommen sind. Mahtani arbeitet mit Ideen der besonders der Sound Art geläufigen Praxis der Akusmatik, also mit „natürlichen” Klängen, die spezifisch für eine Wiedergabe auf mehrkanaligen Lautsprechersystemen manipuliert werden. Durch die elektrische Verstärkung und digitale Herausarbeitung von Klängen, die in den unbearbeiteten Feldaufnahmen, welche Mahtani als Klangquellen dienen, eventuell gar nicht hörbar wären, werden dokumentarische Aufnahmen zu immersiven Soundscapes, die auch ohne den akusmatischen Kontext perfekt als Ambient funktionieren.

… documentary recordings become immersive soundscapes that function perfectly as ambiences even without the acousmatic context.


Roland Torres, SilenceAndSound, May 6, 2019

Compositrice anglaise, Annie Mahtani aime capturer l’essence des bruits qui nous entourent, rendant audible ce qui est parfois imperceptible.

Racines regroupe 5 pièces composées entre 2008 et 2019, révélant la constance développée par l’artiste au fil des années. Annie Mahtani se révèle être une sculpteuse d’atmosphères enveloppantes, où les field recordings jouent à se superposer tout en gardant une certaine distance et développant un certain minimalisme.

La nature prend des allures diverses, à l’image de notre monde, mais débarrassée de la pollution bruyante qui souvent brouille notre audition. Ici on reste concentré sur chaque élément, sur chaque parcelle sonore qui nous est livrée, donnant une impression de froideur presque clinique, de par leur pureté et leur définition.

On pourrait presque plus parler de sound design à propos du travail d’Annie Mahtani, tant les sons qu’elle élabore sont dessinés et plein de détails, nous renvoyant aux profondeurs des rêves enfouis qui traversent nos nuits. Un travail d’orfèvre qui donne le tournis. Somptueux.

Un travail d’orfèvre qui donne le tournis. Somptueux.