CHRIS CAMPBELL – Things You Already Know

Innova

Steven Copes, Erin Keefe, Andrei Tchekmazov, Jessica Bidner, Ben Ullery, Pitnarry Shin, Ruggero Allifranchini, Nina Fan, Christopher Campbell, Holly Hansen, Aaron Rice: bowed, struck and plucked instruments, voice, keyboards, percussion, guitars, bass, homemade instruments.

Besides acting as Innova’s operations manager, Campbell is a composer who – in the brief continuance of Things You Already Know – does indeed show that there’s no necessity of chronically dissenting views to bring sufficiently attractive music into existence. The record’s nature suggests an outlandish formulation for the layering of apparently discrepant acoustic miscellanies; try to conceive a somewhat oneiric travel across singular visions of transcendental lands. Cleverly designed mutations convey a sense of multidimensional perception, not necessarily with hi-fi quality. A piece – “Lord Byron”, for example, or even the title track – may start with simple structural hints, perhaps recalling an ancient tune, only to turn into a rubbery compound of erratic orchestral fragments and divaricating rhythms, at times compressed and/or deformed by effect pedals and other treatments. Loops and voices are employed without aggrandizing deceptions; cinematic openings can incorporate highly consonant vistas which, on a first listen, had felt worrisomely viscous to these unflagging ears (a section of “Torso Of A Bodhisattva” pinned those characteristics on the memory’s wall). However, with the due mental elasticity one realizes that it’s all part of a unique system of rules, each constituent equally determining in the compositional framework. A bowed drone, a disguised choir, unnatural bends emitted by curious instruments, jangly strings. When all is said and done, Campbell has managed to depict a rather incomparable and entirely hospitable sound world in just over 33 minutes. Returning in this place every once in a while might not hurt.

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