Recent brief exchanges with Richard Chartier have conveyed to this writer the idea of a sensibility profoundly impacted by realities inconceivable until a couple of decades ago or so. There comes a time in an artist’s life when, little comforted by surrounding circumstances, combining intellectual honesty and one’s own inner strength remains the lone way out of the horrible place where authentic communication can no longer happen. In the case of Chartier, furtherly spurred to deep reflection by having recently reached the age of 50, the repercussions of serious self-questioning accompanied the release of Interreferences, a cycle of minimalist wonders composed from 2018 to 2020. Monochromatic only for the deaf, they’re instead rich in shadows of suggestion and ineffable chiaroscuros inducing transcendental states.
Chartier reports on the abandoning of painting – his previous expressive medium – in favor of sound, the latter offering uniquely intangible prerogatives compared to the manuality of the pictorial gesture and, in general, figurative art as an inefficient means for expliciting inwardness. Sound can be perceived by audiences endowed with advanced receptive faculties as an abstraction in itself, lacking the analytical components that would pollute its purity. The origin of what is heard in these six tracks is unknown, yet the effects on the psyche are very clear. Between the annihilation of will and ego and the detection of hidden structures, elegantly ominous drones self-regenerate at safe distance from materiality in atmospheres typically devoid of garish colors. The meanings do not appear instantly, but will likely transpire in some of the countless centrifuges of ordinary logic characterizing the stages of detachment from everyday’s mediocrity.
The composer recommends listening through headphones, which in truth reveals more about the gathering mechanisms inherent to the resonant spectrum. Disobedient as ever, I repeatedly ignored the tip to test my speakers, letting fluid sonic matters and inscrutable reverberations affect room, mood, and psychological relationship to the visible exterior of that moment. One of the questions Chartier asks himself is “why these sounds?”. It’s probably because they were meant, without anyone knowing it beforehand, to permeate someone’s soul in order to unburden it from pain. And so, even when I didn’t understand, I actually did. By remaining silent, exclusively aided by the electroacoustic pulse, the silly noisiness of a few lingering impractical thoughts was once again put to shame.