Chad Kettering - Into The Infinite [Sonic Layers Music - 2008]After spending much of his musical life as a professional trumpet player Chad Kettering debut album surprisingly shows little or no sign of his trumpet playing, but instead offers up 8 tracks of active and often natural sound and ethic chanted lined ambience.
And though its cover artwork may suggest new age or pretty sounding ambience this is often licked by gloomy, dark and quite tense undertones. Starting things off we have Breaking the surface which enters in quite an eerier fashion with tinkling ritual air, dark synth tones, whispered voices, brooding horn work – but sadly instead of building on this heady darkened eastern atmosphere he swoops into epic, harmonic and light ambience. This first track does highlight a problem that reoccurs through out much of the album- it’s almost seems he's trying too hard, often jumping out of very effective atmospheres onto others too soon. He doesn’t sit back and let the ambience build, grow or soar often cut it’s wings before it has chance to take flight in one imagination.
Though that’s not to say the whole album suffers from this problem as some of the tracks here are highly effective at building atmosphere and sonic feeling. Take Humidity which is built from watery knocking sounds, eerier bird calls and growing mysterious ambient synth tones- which all nicely balances atmosphere and harmonics. Or Transcending Vision that builds swooping melodic yet darkly tingered big sounding snyth patterns to which Kettering cleverly places wind sounds to great dramatic effect. Or the last track Deeper Within the core which offers up a deep, dramatic and swirling meeting of brooding yet harmonic ambient tones which would fit perfectly on the end credits of a downbeat sci-fi film as the screen shows the heroes of the film drifting apart in the vastness of space.
So a debut album with some real promise, showing Kettering clearly has a great understanding of dramatic flare, harmonics and when he wants to building atmospheres. He just needs to try and strip down some of his tracks and focus on building and developing facets and not been too egger to overload the tracks sonic identity. Roger Batty