Richard Chartier - Removed

[Ash International # 12.3] CD + DL
Limited edition, spot varnished sleeve
Release date: 19th May 2017

Front cover image: Linn Meyers.
Artwork: Philip Marshall

Tracklisting:

1. Removed 1
2. Removed 2

In 2000, The Wire wrote of Chartier’s work: “it’s worth stretching the ears in search of Chartier’s sequences of exquisitely sculpted sonic events, as gorgeous detail bodies forth out of the shadows"… the same holds true today.

Formed over the course of 5 years, Removed was a process of removal/erasure.
Only trace elements appear from what was. Their interactions merely a ghost of a composition — subtle echoes across the sound spectrum. A glacially paced progression of discreet relational sonic events and flows.

Inspired in part by the rigorous line drawings of American visual artist Linn Meyers, whose 2011 untitled drawing graces the cover, Removed draws the listener in to follow patterns. Meyers often creates large scale on-site works that transform a space into durational installations of seemingly endless lines. Seen from a distance these lines appear as almost natural ripples in a wall surface, but deeper, upon closer inspection, the delicate echoes and fluctuations of the artist’s hand arise from the density of details.

Chartier’s precise sound compositions work in a similar manner. Austere and shimmering, the two compositions of Removed beg for careful listening on headphones. Or let these 2 compositions play quietly amplified across your space. Either way, a physically captivating dimensional experience.

Removed is a continuing reflection on major aesthetic elements of Chartier’s artistic language as it has evolved through the years. This is Chartier’s first new solo studio album since 2013’s field recording exploration Interior Field and 2012’s purely digital Recurrence, both released on LINE, US.

Richard Chartier (American, b.1971) is a Los Angeles based artist and is considered one of the key figures in the current of reductionist sound known as both “micro sound" and Neo-Modernist. Chartier’s minimalist digital work explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception and the act of listening itself.

Chartier’s critically acclaimed sound works have been published since 1998 on a variety of labels internationally. He has collaborated with noted composer William Basinski, sound artists ELEH, CoH, Taylor Deupree, AGF, Yann Novak, and German electronic music pioneer Asmus Tietchens. In installation form, he has created works with multimedia artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, visual artist Linn Meyers, and projected light artist Anthony McCall.

Chartier’s sound works/installations have been presented in galleries and museums internationally and he has performed his work live across Europe, Japan, Australia, and North America at digital art/electronic music festivals and exhibits. In 2000 he formed the recording label LINE and has since curated its continuing documentation of compositional and installation work by international sound artists/composers exploring the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism.

Reviews:

Boomkat (UK):

Excellent, Barely-there micro-minimalism “In 2000, The Wire wrote of Chartier's work: it's worth stretching the ears in search of Chartier's sequences of exquisitely sculpted sonic events, as gorgeous detail bodies forth out of the shadows...; the same holds true today. Formed over the course of 5 years, Removed was a process of removal/erasure. Only trace elements appear from what was. Their interactions merely a ghost of a composition - subtle echoes across the sound spectrum. A glacially paced progression of discreet relational sonic events and flows. Inspired in part by the rigorous line drawings of American visual artist Linn Meyers, whose 2011 untitled drawing graces the cover, Removed draws the listener in to follow patterns. Meyers often creates large scale on-site works that transform a space into durational installations of seemingly endless lines. Seen from a distance these lines appear as almost natural ripples in a wall surface, but deeper, upon closer inspection, the delicate echoes and fluctuations of the artist's hand arise from the density of details. Chartier's precise sound compositions work in a similar manner. Austere and shimmering, the two compositions of Removed beg for careful listening on headphones. Or let these 2 compositions play quietly amplified across your space. Either way, a physically captivating dimensional experience. Removed is a continuing reflection on major aesthetic elements of Chartier's artistic language as it has evolved through the years. This is Chartier's first new solo studio album since 2013's field recording exploration Interior Field and 2012's purely digital Recurrence, both released on LINE, US.

ambientblog (net):

It has almost become a genre in itself: reductionist minimalism, exploring deterioration (think Basinski), or exploring the artefacts of multiple digital copies (think Alva Noto).
Or: exploring what is remains after removing important details – think Richard Chartier‘s latest album (his first new studio album under his own name since 2013).

It’s a famous Miles Davis quote: “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”
Which is exactly what Richard Chartier does here on this album.

It took a five-year process of removal/erasure to form these two pieces (26 and 23 minutes).
“Only trace elements appear from what was”.
Only Chartier himself can probably tell what ‘was’ and what has been removed. But the result is a fascinating ‘ghost of a composition’ which presents a sonic universe in itself. An infinite and timeless universe.

Two ways of listening are recommended: you can play it quietly amplified across your space, changing the atmosphere of your surroundings in the truest sense of ‘ambient music’.
Or, listen carefully on your headphones (be sure to listen on a decent system and using a lossless audio source) to hear all the captivating details of this ‘glacially paced progression of discreet relational sonic events and flows.’
I recommend doing both, though not at the same time.

Brainwashed (USA):

With both of his primary projects releasing new material at nearly the same time, it becomes tempting to compare and contrast Richard Chartier’s academic-tinged solo work with the slightly campy (at least in presentation) Pinkcourtesyphone, and at the superficial level there is a lot of similarity. Both Removed and Something You Are Or Something You Do are slow, sparse works that at times drift into near silence, but besides the mood and presentation, the actual compositional approach separates them most. The two are rather distinct works that each capture part of Chartier’s style extremely effectively.

Right from the onset of "Removed 1" (one of two lengthy pieces that comprise the album) the more clinical tendencies of Chartier's work are on display. What sounds like the ambience of an empty room is presented: a bit of still air and only a hint of environmental sounds slip through but are not at all easily decoded. Subtle panning makes it clear that there is actually something to be heard, as empty and spacious though it might be. Eventually more distinct sounds appear: icy and slow, but they carefully drift in and fill out the mix. The piece stays extremely hushed for most of its duration, but it is that subtlety which makes it so captivating. Eventually the entirety of the piece becomes more commanding, a pastiche of rich electronics and sounds that at times rumble the low end, and at others are near tinnitus inducing. Towards the end he gets a bit more forceful with the larger, more enveloping tones that appear, but it is clearly an experience designed for headphones.

For "Removed 2", Chartier once again accomplishes quite a lot drawing from an intentionally limited array of sounds. Opening with a passage of what almost could be wind, the volume is adjusted here and there but on the whole the piece stays rather consistent. It is comparably even more sparse: a gentle hum through frigid air for much of its opening. There are multiple changes and developments throughout the piece's 23+ minute duration, but they are so intentionally minute and understated that significant attention is required to appreciate them.

cover imageSomething You Are Or Something You Do, the latest Pinkcourtesyphone release, seems like a proper fit for the cassette format. For a project so tinged with vintage imagery, the medium is perfect. The analog imperfections of the tape work as well, as the gentle hiss adds to the barbiturate haze in its own way, but would have been entirely distracting for Removed. Right at the start "But it Felt/In Other Dreams" is far more commanding: a hazy, almost spacy wall of sound extending out with just the right amount of rumble to it. Despite some shimmering passages that shine through, it is a rather bleak and haunting bit of music, amongst the darkest in the PCP catalog.

The other side of the tape, "She Who Controls" is cut from a similar cloth, but has a greater density and sense of texture to it. The errant crackle gives a nice depth to the frigid roar that surrounds it. Compared to what preceded it, there is less change and more sustained, cavernous like dynamics to the piece. Structurally it is as stripped down as Chartier’s work on Removed, but with more demanding, forceful sounds. The ending is perhaps the most striking part of the composition, however, with a quick transition to lightness and bell-like tones that are far less oppressive than what preceded it.

On the surface, Richard Chartier's solo work and Pinkcourtesyphone may seem quite alike: both are projects of lengthy compositions, often kept at rather quiet volumes, and comprised of sparse, electronic tones and textures. Listening to them back to back, however, the distinction is very clear. Removed comes from more of a sound art background: classically minimalist with staunch attention to detail and structure. It is clinical, but not cold or inhuman in its character. Comparatively, Something You Are feels less rigid, yet there is a malignance in its enchanting ennui. It feels structurally looser, and a greater sense of rawness due to the more dissonant sounds Chartier is working with. But what it comes down to is that the two sides of this one brilliant artist’s work compliment each other perfectly, and both are essential listening, in my opinion. [Creaig Dunton]



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Richard Chartier - Removed


MP3 sample

Track 1:  removed (extract)



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