RICHARD CHARTIER – Current – CD- Room 40



Almost no label that purports to be presenting “minimalist” works is without the ever present output of Richard Chartier. His name, like Bernhard Gunther before him, became synonymous with a certain brand of minimalism. Since the re-release a few years back of his early works, “Other Materials” and “Direct.Incidental.Consequential.” Chartier’s profile has reached near stratospheric levels. His work, (virtually in parallel to Bernhard Gunther’s) ranges from the near-silent pieces on “Series” (which really gave life to his recent success), to the more accessible “Levels Inverted” installation piece last year. Of late, he has been perhaps over prolific, basking in the glow of success, underground media darling , and satisfying an audience hungry for his often austere sound installations, constantly touring with boundless energy, and with audio and visual work springing up in every corner of the globe, saturating the scene with a host of  recordings for the last two years or so.

It is with no surprise then, that Room 40 recently released “Current”, a modest 19 minute tonal piece that epitomises Chartier’s more recent sound works, and further adds weight to the label’s impressive roster of luminaries. Typically, Current opens with an agonisingly slow tonal swell, hovering just within the audible spectrum, gently building anticipation. Over the first five minutes, pin spots of sound gradually bloom into audibility, an opening curtain that slowly envelops us with rich, dark reverberating tones, perforated with fractures and swells, and slowly repetitive hypnotic sequences.Gradually the focus becomes sharper, more tactile, and more visceral sounds beging to dominate. It is in the selection of sounds and their inherent precision and quality that Chartier has mastered his craft; this alongside a punishing live schedule, has helped him become one of the most prominent figures in sonic art at the moment.

One gets the impression that this is a true labour of love, and as a self confessed “neat freak”, Chartier’s every sound, every nuance has been thoroughly and lovingly honed and assembled with a surgeon-like hand. If this were a painting, it would be one of Rauschenberg’s Black Paintings, with subtle depths, and mystery in every crevice, a work of clarity, that shifts focus and perspective constantly. Packaged  as an Edition in one of Room 40’s understated, utilitarian clamshells, Current is well worth the asking price. This is one of Chartier’s better recent works, but at 19 minutes plus, perhaps a little too short for total immersion .BGN 


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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