Antoine Chessex | Subjectivation
Fragment Factory (LP/DL)
These two lengthy tracks are culled from live material by Swiss noisemaker Antoine Chessex. Subjectivation is the composer playing solo. Beginning with the flared electronic open sources in San Francisco _ Berlin _ Zurich 2010-2014 he bends a series of pedals or wires attached to a tenor sax into submission, and the results are a searing pure white noise. The raging cacophony is an avalanche of noise, and it’s hard to imagine this not being a huge orchestra making such a burring racket. I’m reminded of early Wolf Eyes here, as his radical twists and screetching engagement wreaks an uncertain havoc. Though it’s also a course study in sculpting sound into a voluminous, contorted heap. Complex, industrial, riveting and angular. If the sculptural works of John Chamberlain made noise this would be their soundtrack.
As the needle hits the surface on side two London 2015 opens the intent whir of a buzzing hive being poked and prodded, otherwise something is disturbed. Presented at Cafe Oto (London) this is the composer in his element, working his horn with sinewy flux. Layered with a reverb-y drone that recalls a b-movie U.F.O. there’s much to contemplate from the outset of this literal circular breathing session as it takes off. Someone in the live audience better get this man some lip balm after performing sessions such as this. The flutters are delightful and slowly get more fleeting and understated as an electronic hiss washes over the wearing, hallucinatory mix. This distortion, like a full-tilt street sweeper destined to erase the filthy surface finally lets up to make way for Chessex’s squiggly saxophone. Levitating waves enter from stage left and the tones are as mesmerizing as they are unsettling. They made my dog leap from his comfy spot and come to check on me. The last minutes are like a steel factory in progress, ending with a discordant, thin metallic sinewave, like a spirit floating into thin air.