Chris Herbert: Constants (Room40, 2014)

November 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Chris Herbert: Constants

Chris Herbert: Constants

British sound artist Chris Herbert released his debut on Kranky in 2006, and other than a limited CD-r and a split 7″, he hasn’t released much since. This is his proper follow-up, and it’s a blissful, multi-textured journey, which drifts enough to be classified as “ambient” but is by no means minimal or background music. There’s usually several things going on at once, but it all sort of melts into itself. “As Blue As Your Eyes Love” has a constant tone that is very reminiscent of The KLF’s classic album Chill Out. “Cinders” floats upon some sad, string-like synth sounds, and gradually fades in some scrambling, circuit-bent noises. These creep into “Cité Radieuse”, which bathes delicate tones in warm, steam-like hissing. “Spirit Copy” sounds like a brief interlude of packing up, and “Sea Holly” sounds like a densely foggy sea, but it gets clearer and brighter during the second half. “Zona” similarly shifts from being dark and crackly to being lighter and almost church organ-like, and back. A long stretch of the album feels more still and serene, but some crackling, shifting textures return to “Disjxet”. “Former Shoreline” ends the album gazing towards the sea again, complete with sounds approximating water and seagulls, and waving goodbye. Overall, it’s easy to compare Herbert’s sound to Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Lawrence English, and any number of other drone artists on Kranky or Room40, but Chris Herbert clearly has his own style, and manipulates and juxtaposes sounds in a unique way.

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