ROBERT CURGENVEN + RICHARD CHARTIER – Built Through

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Trying to read the proceedings of how these four pieces (spanning from 2002 to 2011) were originated and reworked soon became a maze of primary sources and recycling know-how whose complexness risked to put a distance between us – the listeners – and the beauty of the creations, which is right there to be looked at. Robert Curgenven and Richard Chartier – two of the finest artists working in the sphere of multi-dimensional listening and sound installations – do not really need to persuade us with mere specifications that their music deserves appropriate times and spaces to be absorbed. Consciously or less.

The form is important, to the point that the initial “Invariance Strata” appears configured as a classic minimalist score in some of its sections, held tones – processed car horns, perhaps? – emerging and disappearing like actual chords on a firm foundation of intense activity at the borders of understanding. Throughout the album, field recordings and digital materials generate textures where the organic and the (apparently) glacial are impeccably integrated. Within these grids, pulsating entities in the areas where the body understands better than the brain dictate paces and physical hypotheses.

The record produces various types of response in consequence to antithetical approaches. By removing the protections and letting the frequencies manage our relative autonomy, we’re in for almost an hour of shifting settings in which we believe to be in charge of the operations, only to realize that this is not the case, forced as we are to follow the changing dynamics without a chance of interfering. By focusing on the single components, something can be (barely) distinguished – passing trains and traffic noise, for example – as raw material amidst masses of acoustic occurrences imbued with a peculiarly oscillating poetry of metropolitan farawayness tinted with solitude.

See, we’re back at the untruthfulness of a verbal description. Walking across the various stages of silence escorted by such kinds of phenomena requires more than that. And yet, despite the requisite of stillness to start with, Built Through should be enjoyed at high volume to reach the peaks of gratification.

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