Chain D.L.K. – Chvad SB “Phenomenalism, Cartesian Doubt and Bomb #20” (2016)

Despite album artwork that seems to channel Heath Robinson, or Henrique Alvim CorrĂȘa’s HG Wells illustrations, sonically this experimental album is firmly routed in the 1950’s, citing the 1956 soundtrack to “Forbidden Planet” as an influence and sounding very akin to early BBC Radiophonic Workshop pieces.

The single 73-minute piece is programmed, in the sense that it is generated by a series of rules and loops rather than in the more common sense of programming a synthesizer. It’s difficult to spot these patterns though, and the ‘lead’ element strongly sounds like a human being noodling experimentally on an old analogue synth in a freeform jazz style. Despite apparently being entirely generated by patterns, recognisable musical patterns are difficult to spot in the output, to the extent that I’m not completely convinced that it was algorithmically generated; I could easily believe that somebody performed this live, but that’s not to its detriment. The progression throughout is very subtle and slight, and again it feels more organic than mathematical.

There’s an accompanying video “response”, which encompasses the whole work and which may or may not be available online (it’s unclear whether this will be made public). While the audio may have strong roots in the 1950’s, the video belongs in the 1980’s- cheesy kaleidoscope effects, strobing video feedback loops, plasma balls and Amiga-generated graphics combine to create a visual that reacts to, but fails to compliment, the audio. The video element is expendable.

The album however is a really listenable, extremely retro-facing experimental work and a marvellous way to chill out.

Review by; Stuart Bruce
Review originally published here:
http://www.chaindlk.com/reviews/?id=9316

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