Debut LP under full name released by Calling Cards Publishing.
Formosa is composer Adam Matschulat's first major work under his own full name, a deeply personal album of field recordings capturing sounds from kitchens, churches, forests and farmyards in a compositional net of musique concrète that speaks directly to his family's history in the south of Brazil, exploring safety and belonging.
Formosa is in the South of Brazil, where his mother's family emigrated from Prussia in the 1880s. His great-great grandfather built a church there, which still stands and where the congregation still sing from 1850s German hymn books. The role of preacher passed down in the family to his grandfather, who played accordion and worked his farm as the patriarch of what remains a pious community surrounded by forest.
The two side-long compositions contain recordings made in Formosa, from intimate moments between his family members – his mother speaking German to his grandfather – to church singing and the sound of family BBQs. It also contains latent suggestions of mortality – clouds of flies suggestive of rotting and returning to the earth. "This album is about mortality, but also the woods – the cycles of the land and our tiny existence around it,” he says. "My grandad is the strongest man I’ve ever known – he's kind, gentle, supportive but worked like an elephant. Until he was 80 he did all the farmwork, then his heart went and he couldn't even hold his accordion. He'd lost his sense of purpose. I wanted to explore that feeling in the recordings."
The album is made of two-side long distinct compositions. The first explores his connection between mortality and the land, structured around warp and weft of place and conversation. From a distance, the scene appears to be straightforward field recordings of a working farm; of conversations around a table; wobbling German songs with halting accordion on a bed of night-time insect sounds; of hymns once removed by tape static as if remembered, or as a sonic symbol of psychological detachment. Closer listening reveals astute collaging and electro-acoustic manipulations.
The second piece on Formosa is about life, in the form of love for his grandmother’s potato salad, the recipe for which is included in the sleeve notes and which he has vivid memories of his grandmother making for family BBQs. The piece opens with a curious rattling sound: boiled eggs in a bowl of water, giving way to a phone ringing off the hook and the sounds of a farm household: of sinks, plates, cutlery, chickens in the distance, cows mooing and the close mic’d squelching of mayonnaise and potatoes. It is a peaceful domestic scene, where time passes quietly in the production of a meal.
The two pieces on Formosa are meditations on everyday connections to home and family, and more broadly on notions of life, death and belonging. It is an album about the significance of our everyday sonic worlds that creates a teleology of place, and a psychological cartography of safety and home.