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Pinkcourtesyphone - Elision [Farmacia901 - 2016]

This short, single track collaboration between Richard Chartierís queasy, somnambulistic Pinkcourtesyphone and Dutch harpist Gwyneth Wentink is something of an oddity in the formerís discography. Chartierís project has been associated with coldly anaesthetised ambient music, with a strong thematic focus on contemporary feminine subjectivity. All releases under the name have similar pink artwork and usually feature sampled female voices at some point threaded through complex drones and microtonal experiments. Central to the listening experience is the feeling that amid the tense, vaguely paranoid minimal electronics thereís something like a medically coshed Freudian Id struggling to break free. Elision however is striking for the lack of these sensations, exchanging anxiety for beatific panorama.

At 19 minutes in durations itís a good length to appreciate the lovely combination of Wentinkís largely untreated harp and Chartierís superb ghostly electronics. The label Farmacia901ís stated aim is to curate deeply emotional music founded around principles of beauty as minimalism, music as design and sound as malleable material, and Chartier has certainly stepped up to adapt his Pinkcourtesyphone formula to accommodate this aesthetic. His electronics are saturated with pathos whether in the form of gently undulating waves of harmonic noise or richly emotive tones providing the perfect counterpoint to Wentinkís picking. At the midpoint of the piece the vapor-trails of the harp strings are recycled by Chartier into gently shimmering drones as field recordings of birds and what could be the rustle of wind through a field of wheat are added. Itís as far removed from the dark Baconian rooms of Pinkcourtesyphoneís usual output as could be imagined. The piece never takes off, never fades out, but rather appears to hover like a mist over a moorland landscape, sunlight, rain and cloud throwing different shades across the vista. Itís a startlingly beautiful, mysterious piece of music and an unexpected high in the Chartier discography.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Duncan Simpson
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