Richard Chartier - Interreferences [Room40 - 2021]
Among the large number of styles with in the wider Experimental electronics genre, minimalism is the most intelligent, abstract and, at the same time, radical. Its roots go back to the very beginning of the experimental music genre, as an offshoot of classical musical traditions. One of the recognized authorities and masters of this style is the American musician, composer and designer Richard Chartier, who had a great influence on the development of minimalism in electronic music. Active since 1998, Richard's discography contains more than forty full-length albums, several EPs and singles, as well as a fairly large number of works made in collaboration with other musicians and projects. He also owns the label LINE, on which he publishes, in addition to his own releases, albums by like-minded artists. In late spring 2021, Australian label Room40 released Interreferences- a new full-length album. It appeared as either a CD or digital download.
The album cover is a monochrome image made in a minimalistic manner. On a white background, there is a circle created from a large number of irregularly distributed dots. This gives the impression of a ghostly texture, reminiscent of a kind of spiral swirling clouds. But, the feeling of something organic is also created. The cover doesn't feature any inscriptions or information. In my opinion, this is a great graphic work done by the very talented artist Linn Meyers. I also think it fits perfectly with the sound of the album.
The album runs fifty-eight minutes long and consists of six tracks. It should be said that the tracks are named simply: Interreference.1, Interreference.3 and so on. However, the tracks are arranged not according to their serial numbers, but in the order that Richard conceived - 3,4,6,7,5,1. Also, you’ll note that track number 2 is missing. This track and track number 8 are released as a digital EP, which is available on Richard's bandcamp page. The EP is entitled Interreferences II.
As for the musical part of the album itself, here Richard presents the listener with a classical example of his sound. It's a symbiosis of minimalistic ambient and drone with touches of noise. It is impossible to select any track separately. The sound canvas seems to move continuously, flowing from light air hums and distant white noises to rather low pulsating frequencies and almost static rustling textures. The sound captures the entire space of the listener, even though this music is very minimalistic. Sounds and textures very rarely sound at the same time, slowly and lazily transforming and giving way to each other. However, the thoughtful compositionality and direction are clearly felt here. This is exactly why Richard Chartier is seen as the master of minimalistic electronic sound art. The atmosphere of the album is abstract, from the sound part to the cover. It is just a sound and its variations without any specific ideas and concepts linked to it- this is purest sound art for the sake of sound itself.
As for comparisons with other projects and musicians working in a similar style, here I would try to avoid such cliches since Richard is one of the main names in this scene and many are influenced by his work. Did he do something new and unexpected on this album? Probably not. But in this case, stability means quality. I don't think most of Richard's fans expect any dizzying experiments from him. Nevertheless, Interreferences is a very strong and interesting album that I recommend to all fans of experimental electronics, and especially to those who love minimalism in music. Head here to pick-up directSergey Pakhomov