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Pinkcourtesyphone's fourth record, 'Description of Problem', develops the vocal prominence in Richard Chartier's drone and ambient work, pitting hypnotic and often harsh sounds against the sounds of breathing, eerie voicemails left by William Basinski and contributions from the voices of Evelina Domnitch and Cosey Fanni Tutti. 'Description of Problem' is a very bruised type of ambient sound, although there are moments where the whispered voices are married with more downbeat, even pretty ambient layers. 


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Description of Problem by Pinkcourtesyphone
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8/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 15 September 2014

Minimal big hitter Richard Chartier is back this week with another of his pinkcourtesyphone albums on his own L-NE imprint. I guess this could broadly be described as his "fun" project where he steps away from his drier and more cerebral side for some droney hallucinogenic texturescapes. On this latest one he focuses more on the phone side of his name than ever before, with almost every song featuring some sort of vocal guest appearance, beginning with voicemails from William Basinski but also including the likes of Cosey Fanni Tutti, AGF and Kid Congo Powers (you'd think he was the weirdest inclusion but he is in fact the only one who has already appeared on a previous pinkcourtesyphone album, trivia fans).

Broadly speaking what's happening here is a gently morphing fog of subtle textures and tones, distant echoing industrial clanks and ethereal musical touches, breathy twitches swathed in static, with varying uses of vocals. Basinski's answer machine messages are looped and processed and buried deep in the cotton-wool-like sound pulp; Tutti does an eerie call-and-response with the echo of her own voice in a feverish tropical-industrial haze; Evelina Domnitch croons sweetly through a telephone while lush shimmering drone melodies hover above like memories of a string orchestra; Congo growls out a full-on Vincent Price-style style horror movie monologue with some heavy reverb and echo effects alongside some moodily gliding ambience - this one's sort of like how I'd imagine a collaboration between Current 93 and Decimus would turn out, total nightmare fuel. If you're into finely detailed hallucinogenic ambient times, you won't be disappointed.


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