The dedicatees of this pair of gorgeous soundscapes by Richard Chartier are, respectively, Steve Roden and William Basinski. Regarding the latter, the magnificently scary ebb and flow of the indeterminate cavernous resonance characterizing “A Desk For Mixing” is defined by its originator as “the starting point for the collaborative work Untitled 3” between the two. It is an awe-inspiring, utterly splendid track, simplicity and profoundness fused in thought-stopping suspension.
On the contrary, the 47-minute “Fields From Recording 1-8” – the title a gentle irony on the origin of the piece, whose source are processed location echoes born during travels across several continents – is one of those episodes causing us to put a question mark of sorts on Chartier’s deserved reputation as a man working at the margins of audible. In fact, it is not the first time in which this writer experiments with seriously increased volume while listening to his creations, thus enjoying an outcome that is probably at the opposite end of what the artist had initially envisioned.
By giving the proper attention to the original materials and the method with which the composer deploys them, the musicality of contemporary life is exalted, the listener inclined to forget the crudeness of people’s feelings and the heavy consequence of extreme metropolitan lifestyles. Chartier manages to filter the pessimism out, channelling the resounding features of certain environments into masses of frequencies that result both ethereal and concrete, finding a poetry of sorts in what started as a cold manifestation of hypothetical evolution.
Occasionally the focus is shifted on the animal side. A barking dog appears camouflaged amidst the urban din, whereas magnificent exotic birds make their presence fundamental in a section. Still, we’re not in front of a sheer collection of aural snapshots, which may be more or less successful but essentially means nothing. A Field For Mixing is a specialist stimulation of the emotional response that aware individuals feel when confronted with the altered order of familiar factors.