The gentle spikiness of John Chantler’s inventions dresses in modern clothes the antediluvian computer music that every serious nerd should love to death.
Through sequences of “scientific-dissonance-to-choral-hopefulness” transitions, Which Way To Leave? shows various methods to rub our auricular membranes in the right way. The nine tracks are based on dynamic criteria that recall thousands of unstoppable bacteria observed with a microscope. One acknowledges peculiar trajectories, infinitesimal conflicts and involuntary geometries; and yet, the contact with the nucleus of spontaneous creativity is never lost.
From mere intersections of luminescent signals to gripping cascades of distorted chords (“First December” being the most notable example) Chantler introduces us to an ample gamut of experimental environments that nevertheless retain a familiar scent of sorts. Some of his hypotheses are already complete in their reflective starkness; on the other hand, more complex structures can evolve to levels of impressive orchestral richness. Both aspects suggest a considerable degree of preliminary thinking even before the outset of a random process.
Sometimes, a work born in the studio conveys profundity without necessarily placing the painstaking issues of composition in front of everything else. This album sounds light enough to the ears, but certainly not parsimonious in emotional gifts. Its melodically advanced fragmentariness represents its defining strength. The compatibility with this reviewer’s receptive apparata was successfully verified; now, it’s your turn to try.