JOHN CHANTLER: Even Clean Hands Damage the Work LP ROOM40

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JOHN CHANTLER: Even Clean Hands Damage the Work LP ROOM40

Following on from 2011’s ‘The Luminous Ground’, Chantler continues his experimentation with electrical sounds that grind and whir as textures and noise, as opposed to actual music.

There is an eccentricity to John’s work that is almost palatable. However, for the most part this will not sit well with many.

Sitting on the fringes of experimentalism is one thing; unfortunately though, neither providing enough musicianship for the leftfield out there; nor those that would appreciate this the most (those who reside in the realms of Power Electronics), leaves him sat on the fence, somewhat directionless.

Hidden amongst this work are varying key structures; and it takes a keen ear to pick these out. Ultimately this is where this latest work shines, but it will be missed by the many (who take this album at face value).

Overall I have to give kudos to Chantler for standing his ground and merely producing what he enjoys, without folding and giving in to convention; but this will forever leave him in limbo (musically speaking), should he not decide which path he is going to take in the future.

7/10

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DAVID SHEA: Rituals CD ROOM40

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DAVID SHEA: Rituals CD ROOM40

US based Australian composer David Shea returns with a semi-acoustic wash of immersive dream states pegged as ‘Rituals’. Shea spent time immersing himself in Buddhist and Taoist traditions; and in some respect these have come across in this aural representation of his thought processes.

Opener ‘Ritual 32’ drags on classical influences, interwoven with Dark Ambient, obscure pipes and piano work that glides off into a vast ravine as the song stumbles graciously; purposely losing its footing on the edge of the crags, whilst ethnic chimes clang in the distance.

In contrast, ‘Emerald Garden’, is a darker affair that loiters within a web of psychosis. Reverberated drama unfolds in a backdrop of cinematic terror, eventually concluding in a calming swamp of blissful drones; and whilst ‘Wandering in the Dandenongs’ meanders pointlessly in self-absorbed Tibetan dribble, ‘Sunrise’ picks up the pace with a range of tribal drum work; providing a welcome abstinence from an obsession with incense sticks and hessian rugs.

It’s at this point that I find myself torn whilst listening to this latest album. I have a deep appreciation for the majority of work on this release, especially where the ambient tones are concerned; however, I have never been a lover of music that bases itself of eastern tribal influences. Don’t get me wrong, Shea’s interpretation of such sounds, holds itself together better than the works of Z’ev and such like; but it’s still an irritation, in what is a competent display of pitch and tone.

7.5/10

LAWRENCE ENGLISH: Wilderness of Mirrors LP/CD ROOM40

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LAWRENCE ENGLISH: Wilderness of Mirrors LP/CD ROOM40

Two years in the making, a lot is expected of English, given the amount of work the press sheet states, went into the production of this album; based on the poem ‘Gerontion’ by T.S. Elliott and a phrase that became associated with the campaigns of miscommunication within the cold war.

‘The Liquid Casket’, opens up the proceedings with frost tinged pads that splice quickly into a barbed overdrive of fractured distortion. Layer upon layer of ranging drones purposely envelop and swamp the track as it glides forward until they eventually amalgamate into a brash sea of dark ambience that envelops the listener; whilst still retaining a rich grasp of harmony.

Seamlessly folding into the title track, you could be forgiven in missing the crossover between songs, as there is little to differentiate between the two sound wise; and it’s up to ‘Guillotines and Kingmakers’ to source a break. Providing a quieter undercurrent of machine-like hums however, this once again tallies onto the shirttails of its companions as the epilogue of their story.

Lawrence has cleverly produced a seamless body of work, which drifts through nine tracks that pay no attention to conventional time constraints. Covering a wide range of Dark Ambient, teased with soaring pads and the odd undercurrent of rumbling power electronics; this is one of those albums that arrives at its destination without the listener noticing the clock steadily tick by.

‘Wilderness of Mirrors’, is an excellent display of engaging inky black atmospheres and attention to detail, that holds itself well within the genre; outshining many of the scenes top brass with ease.

9/10

CHRIS ABRAHAMS: Memory Night CD ROOM40

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CHRIS ABRAHAMS: Memory Night  CD ROOM40

Wire like electronics and a machine head hum are the main body to the opening track from this latest instalment to Abrahams’ discography, crashing into a field recording of clattering metallic screeches and abrupt sonic disruptions that spoil the party somewhat.

The following ‘Bone and Teem’, falls over itself as a tantric meandering of unadulterated garbage, whilst ‘Strange Bright Fact’ ruins what could have been something of saviour in its piano keys, by allowing a mass of abstract noises to obliterate anything tangible.

‘Stabilised Ruin’, the ending piece to this lengthy four-tracker gives insight to what could have been.  Somewhere within the blistered programming there are shades of ability, which begs questions as to why Abrahams hasn’t sat down on his tracks and capitalised on individual source material to produce something moderately listenable.  Merely placing noises together for noise sake is an old staple of those who want to be artists and ultimately fail.  Abrahams has more in his toolbox than this I am sure and ‘Memory Night’ really doesn’t have a lot to offer, due to its inconsistencies.

5.8/10

ASHER: Untitled Landscapes Digital Download ROOM40

ASHER: Untitled Landscapes  Digital Download ROOM40

Thematically I do see where this guy is coming from; you can almost see him taking in the view of various places upon a journey and imagining the soundtrack to accompany them.

There is a pleasant, peaceful ambience that flows throughout this album and track-by-track, the soothing massage of gentle drones rolls on unobtrusively with over the top of natural hisses of what appear to be field recordings.

This is most likely one of the most inoffensive releases I have ever heard; this however can be deemed as negative as much as it is positive.  There isn’t a whole lot to say about the album as a whole as there isn’t much to differ on the entire release; it’s as if Asher’s world of landscapes doesn’t have to offer much in the way of variety and the scenery is unchanging.

As a result, whilst being completely competent musically, this does stagnate after a while and you do feel like you wish the weather would take a turn for the worse on the horizon upon which his gaze is firmly transfixed, if nothing else to stir something up a little; Solid, but a tad one-dimensional.

7/10