Chra - Seamons [Editions Mego - 2020]Deep, dark, marine ambient, Chra's latest release, Seamons, comes via Editions Mego. Abstract but still tight enough to trigger suffocating thassalophobia, Seamons harnesses the terrifying vastness of the sea and its many unseen denizens. The type of album that can start anywhere and still deliver an impressive experience, Chra (Christina Nemec) puts a sonic spin on the sea so that landlubbers can drown their ears in the comfort of their own homes.
Coming from Austria, smack dab in the middle of Europe, it's surprising to hear such deep, oceanic ambient. While there is a watery motif flowing through Seamons, the tracks all work on their own and complete the album in any order they're played. Much like water will fit the space of the container in which it's put, the songs on Seamons fit the play time no matter how they pour from one's speakers. What Chra really accentuates here is the depth and feeling that something is lurking. There is an unfathomable (!) vastness to the ocean, but conversely, one is completely surrounded by water. Suffocating even in the largest of volumes, Chra captures this by boxing in the tracks with heavy, lower tones and oft harsh sequences that remind the listener of what is surrounding them. Add to this the lurking fear of marine fauna, their almost alien nature, and the fact that it is their turf, not yours, and you have all the building blocks for terror that's created by one's own mind. Unlocking more and more with each successive listen, Seamons exposes its depths slowly and deliberately, and lets the listener decide the pace. Choosing how deep to go and how quickly, Chra's latest is almost a choose your own adventure of dark, aquatic ambient.
Often crushing through the sheer volume of space, Seamons captures the essence of the deep sea, it's inhabitants, and all of the mental terror associated with it. An album that can be assembled and rearranged as one sees fit, Seamons can be enjoyed in various permutations and opens itself up to many combinations of arrangements. And open book on sonic suffocation, Chra's latest is definitely worth a lot of spins.Paul Casey