Each of the nine tracks is built upon similar parts. The drum kit and synthetic treatments seem sparse until the wonderful "Over," whose predominant sound is a dense pad that hangs gloomily like gray clouds above an open field. Where Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works 85-92 complemented its melodiousness with reverb, Raudive utilizes his minimalist intentions and repurposed sounds like the bells and wind chimes in "Khaki," and builds out his mixer sends and inserts with clever shadow. Many sampled voices populate Chamber Music's grottos. Each is its own instrument, used percussively or tunefully throughout. On "X-Ray" we find a female voice dictating abstractly. In "Brittle" a man's syllables brush up against a repeated organ note. More often than not, they sound cold and austere.
What seems most organic about Chamber Music, instead, are its arrangements. They don't slink on like Burial's slow-to-canter dubstep. Nor do they seem to be anything but a sequenced sound. The human element is there. Getting rid of it, despite the way he uses vocal shards, is not his aim. Chamber Music doesn't quite end where it began. It's transportive, and it moves intellectually through deconstruction. "Sienna," the album's last four-and-a-half minutes, is an ambient piece just outside the bounds of what we might expect from someone like Tim Hecker. It gathers itself up from dust and vinyl crackle, and a guitar is manipulated, strummed, post-rave in the most literal sense.
Fri / 12 Nov 2010
01. Is it Dark in Here