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CHASSE, LOREN & MICHAEL NORTHAM - The Otolith

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Helen Scarsdale Agency HMS014
Release Year: 2008
Note: 58 minutes full of wonders & secrets - a kind of microsounding drone with lots of unrecognizable concrete object sounds & field recordings..
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00


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58 Minuten voller Wunder und Geheimnis! Mehrere Jahre haben LOREN CHASSE (THUJA, etc.) und MICHAEL NORTHAM eine unglaubliche Flle von Klngen zusammengetragen (Field Recordings, Aussen-Objekt-Aufnahmen, Instrumentalsounds) und daraus auf acht Stcken Rume voller konkreter Details und drhnender Sphren erschaffen, es tnt so soft und obertonreich und doch nie beliebig, Originalsounds bleiben oft im dunkeln aber betren stets in hchstem Mae. Das ist "organischer Ambient" oder "Microsound Musique Concrete" in Vollendung!

"The recordings of Loren Chasse and Michael Northam begin and end with the great outdoors. Yet, the well-documented wanderlust of these two kindred sound artists is only part of the equation. Field recordings of wind, water, and stone intertwine and hybridize within private rituals of droning psychedelic ragas that return as a folklore reiterating the mystery of the natural world around us. Through his numerous contributions to the multi-faceted Jewelled Antler as well his solo work, Chasse has long postulated the microphone as an extension of his ear, which magnifies and probes the surface of the earth for a tactile grit that permeates all of the sounds that he generates. Northam claims his inspiration from vast geographies, microscopic detail, and severe weather, which he compacts through various techniques to explore what is between improvisation and acousmatic composition. Both Chasse and Northam entertain such notions through an alchemy of arcane instruments: autoharps, ouds, flutes, bells, gongs, bowed wires, harmonium, and Northam's magnetic table harp. The Otolith is the result of several years of work, with sounds gathered collectively in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout Europe. The album speaks as a bramble of fence wire and chaparral scrub oak, acquiring an unkempt collection of rubbish, cobwebs, insects, and soil within its tangle. As the wind pushes in one direction, this mass emits a quite if scratchy melody as if the ghost from a forgotten song; but when the wind changes directions, it bellows a rasping din of metal and vine cracking against itself. This sodden calliope tumbles into a miasma of droning atmospheres, softly rasped distortion, and very subtly rendered lulabies lurking deep within the overgrowth." [label info]

" Throughout the Marin Headlands just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the coastal mountains are dotted with countless bunkers which were built during World War II in anticipation of the Japanese invasion that never came. Nearly 70 years later, these bunkers have been weathered by wind, fog, rain, and of course the sodden folks who tromp through the Headlands on a daily basis. These concrete structures with small portals facing the Pacific all have amazing reverberant qualities; and it shouldn't be a surprise that the more frequented bunkers and passageways inevitably echo with the sound of children dying to hear their own voices tossed back to them. The Headlands have been a favored destinations for Loren Chasse, who has sought many of the lesser known and lesser travelled environs for field recordings and jam sessions that would eventually work their way
into all things Jewelled Antler (Thuja, Franciscan Hobbies, The Blithe Sons, Of, Ov, etc.). In his recordings, Chasse extracts a profound mystery and grand sense of wonder from that echo, the bunker's grit, the soft recurrence of surf bleeding through those walls, and the distant bleat of a foghorn.
Back in 2005, Chasse took his fellow globetrotting wanderer Michael Northam to the Battery Townsley where the two set up long
string wires and various handheld instruments to begin a series of recordings which took a few years to complete after Northam left
California. The two did manage to meet up once again in Estonia, there exploring the Soviet industrial ruins that pock the Estonian landscape with similar intentions. Out of the bramble of overgrown weeds, rebar, concrete, dirt, rock, wind, and water, Chasse and Northam straddle those psychedelic leanings of Jewelled Antler and the more studied aspects of minimalism.
The Otolith begins with an acoustic clamor, as if billions of iron filings were brushing against each other under the direction of a
couple of hefty magnets, before shifting into a harmonium blur of sustained tones hinting at a melody well beneath these clouds of tousled energy. Softer drones and Aeolian fragments flutter forth out of bowed strings and gently tapped gongs amidst a golden hue of opiated atmospherics. Scrabblings across the surfaces of leaves, rocks, mud, and metal fuse with field recordings of wind and water, as a continuing demonstration of Chasse's alchemy with naturalist sound to bring forth stately ragas and dreamtime psychedelic lullabies.
Chasse and Northam work amazingly well together, having produced this thoroughly amazing album. Think Popul Vuh, Parson Sound, Pandit Pran Nath, Harry Bertoia, and Eric La Casa. Totally beautiful and mesmerizing." [Aquarius Records review]

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