After a brief fallow period, relatively speaking, Chartier and L-NE summarise a clutch of his extensive contributions to compilations on a wide variety of labels from around the world, from between 2002-2005. Chartier adherents will be quick to confirm that this was perhaps his most productive period, soundwise after a brief hiatus, and personal re-invention, taking on the mantle of uber-minimalist, with a series of recordings that challenged the auditory sensibilities of many of us, with a series of near silent pieces that nevertheless bristled with activity and vitality.
Further Materials quantifies this period with a logical timeline that traverses Chartier’s numerous approaches from the stark restraint of “composition09.01” for the now defunkt List label, through to a more recent, and somewhat busier live foray, “tempt” for Canada’s Mutek in 2005. One of the high points of the collection for me was the wonderful “how things change” a tribute piece to Morton Feldman on Trente Oiseaux in 2002. Positioned between Steve Roden and Bernhard Gunter, Chartier’s piece was a rigorously worked slab of ultra-minimalism, that deployed a gristly, textural backdrop with shifting foci, occasionally peppered with a delicious sub-bass tone, drifting off into complete silence. In fact, it was the perfection of digital silence that to some extent drew Chartier back to recording, as silence here is used as a primary compositional element , that separates and punctuates the more audible elements.
Interestingly, two of the “specification” pieces, eleven, and fourteen, appear here, constructed as they were with long time collaborator, and label buddy, Taylor Deupree. These highly reduced atmospheres exemplify the modus operandi of both composers, where simplistic tonalism is layered and juxtaposed with other organic elements to create shimmering surfaces, and pastel colours. I was also heartened by the inclusion of “untitled” from Canada’s 1.8 Records, and “improvisation_122904b” on Portugal’s Grain of Sound, both in themselves important pieces for very small, specialised labels. The former being almost pure synth, framed with organic particulates, the latter using rich, expansive, reverberant tonal stabs, that veers into almost dark ambient territory. Followers of Chartier will no doubt be fully aware of his considerable influence on modern minimalism, and for the neophyte, this is a vital and essential access point to his work, and numerous approaches. Highly recommended. BGN