Video Premiere: San Mateo – Pilot Waves

Enigmatic midwestern sonic-naut San Mateo presents Deepstaria, an album comprised of haunting synthesized textures and distant melodic evocations. The album gets its title from a translucent jellyfish tumbling through the deepest parts of the ocean. Deepstaria’s songs transmit this feeling of tumbling; bodies set adrift. As San Mateo describes, “The songs convey this idea that we are the wandering cartographers of our own lives.

Speaking about the music and video, San Mateo says
‘Pilot Waves’ is the principle that particles can be both a wave and a particle at the same time, and how these waves push through space/time. The particle, while looking like it’s random, actually follows the path of the wave — even if it has multiple potential outcomes it will always follow one of those outcomes. What appears to be random still has a purpose or destination.

The video, while abstract, tries to bring some of those concepts together. A single point of light that appears to grow randomly along with the build-up of the song. The light source grows almost organically until it takes up almost all of the negative space, dissipates completely, and builds back up.

I tried to convey a similar sense of movement to the song, while ambient and somewhat abstract it still has movement. The main melody acting as the particles that are moving through space as the rhythmic parts convey the movement of the wave.

Last year, San Mateo switched his recording process from digital to analog and from software to hardware. The artist recorded multiple albums of material, with some of these ‘learning my gear’ experiments found on the Sonet Ring EP. Reflecting on this work, San Mateo says, “A Zen carving analogy states that you don’t know what form the rock decides it wants to become until after it has been completed. In this case, I had to sit and carve several rocks to get here.

The results of the effort are sublime. Deepstaria’s tracks show confidence in these new methods and a desire to push hardware further. The sound is remarkably organic — its palette made up of warm tones and intimate atmospheres. Underneath is a hum of tension, representative of how things seem out of balance. San Mateo says, “We have set out to sea with only a candle and a half-broken compass. No one knows what to expect. It’s somewhat terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

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