For two decades Richard Chartier has been releasing minimal sound art that has ranged from nearly inaudible sine waves to the flounce and circumstance of smart post-techno records from his alter ego, Pinkcourtesytelephone. Here, on his respectable LINE imprint of sound art editions comes his tribute to a peer in the industry who we lost at only 53yo last year, Mika Vainio. Some listeneres out there will know him from his work as Ø or as half of the duo Panasonic or Pan Sonic as they shortly after emerged, a prolific player in the contemporary electronic sound scene. Chartier’s Central (for M.Vainio) consists of only two tracks, the title/central piece which runs for forty minutes and is a wash of humming tone, dusty drone and what seem like distorted frequency tests.
Towards mid track the stripped down haze puts the listener in a poker-faced waiting game, fueled by deep reverberations and a dizzying hollowed out void. Depending on where you place your headphones or speakers be aware that the channels will deliver this ambient concrète with variation. The louder you play this the fuller the room becomes with new layers on fluttering sonic pulsing, as if his sound source were a gaggle of tall birds taking off for Winter, up real close and stretch-processed. It’s drunken and gutsy.
The record then fades into an industrial wash of grays over the last ten minutes or so, leading to the only other track here, Unquiet (for M.Vainio). Given the dedication here (by both artists equally) to the field of noise in one form or another, this is likely the first time I’ve experienced this much gusto from the often reserved and calculated Chartier. And when this track opens its like the thrown-up roar of a b-monster movie. This is an apropos homage, and there is nothing delicate or overly calculated here, more like maneuvering a really rough road, or documenting an implosion at 24 frames a second. There’s a just a strong sense of suspension that feels mighty real.
Tune in for this release (via Bandcamp) on April 20.
Mika Vainio (circa 2012)
P.S. I miss him too. One other very interesting dedication came from Vainio’s Pan Sonic colleague, Ilpo Väisänen, a newer project with Dirk Dresselhaus (originally called simply Angel, who I once saw live and thought the ceiling was going to collapse) under the moniker of die ANGEL. The record is called Entropien I (on Berlin’s Cosmo Rhythmatic label) and you can experience more here.