Tlön is a collaborative project of Liam Mcconaghy and Stuart Chalmers. Whilst also working within projects Drachmae Lucky Strength, Microdeform, Chapter II is the follow up to their debut release on Birkhouse records in 2014, showcasing their almost serene musique concrete. Speeding and slowing percussion that constantly hints but never breaks into form, all set in a glacial soundcape.
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One for the lovers of mysterious musique concrete and hand-assembled, screen-printed packaging, this. Chapter II is the second album from abstract electronica duo Stuart Chalmers and Liam McConaghy and doesn’t mark a great departure from their work within their Drachmae Lucky Strength or Microdeform projects. That’s very good news. Masterfully icy, almost imperceptively flowing soundscapes be-set like jewels with trickling, tickling experimentation are the order of the day.
It all begins pretty serenely, which I wasn’t entirely expecting -- until, that is, ‘Several Futures in Reverse’ kicks into gear on the third track in. Sequenced, harmoniously twinkling synth is overlaid with jarring noise and skittering, insect-like percussion. All the while, the looped synth stays resolutely and stubbornly in place to rise above the hubbub. It all, strangely, lends itself towards both solo contemplation and zoning out. Cool, huh? ‘In the Palaces of Kafr’, on the other hand, sets those stark sounds in opposition until it all converges and collapses in on itself, bringing a sense of claustrophobic, creeping paranoia as it does so.
‘Death of a Planet’ sees the duo bring in all the micro-elements so that, when they gel this effectively, it’s especially widescreen and filmic. The uneasy soup of sounds brings pretty details -- such as a softly lulling piano motif -- to the fore then submerging them once again in a shifting sea of turbulence, storm and relentless drive. It’s a trick they pull off repeatedly. Not an immediately easy listen, but one which will reward and even comfort, with patience. Then there’s the fact that this is a very limited and attractive item.
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