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8/10 Robin Staff review, 02 November 2016
I saw Stuart Chalmers play once at Leeds’ infamous anti-music music festival Crater Lake, and it was quite priceless: man leans over rug, pushing tapes into slots with the enthusiasm of an animated cartoon character, while wearing a really wonderful wig. The sounds were beautiful, and so’s this here tape for Constellation Tatsu, which continues Chalmers loop fantasies with wonderfully plucked sounds that bump into and then off one another, each one travelling while simultaneously being at home.
These pieces are absent-minded but intense, their in-and-out looping chaos both meditative and disorientating in the typical Chalmers domain. He’s an ambient artist who captures melody in its snapshot and then recycles it into new materials, a la the wonderful works of Gordon Ashworth, or a less high-concept the Caretaker. “Reflection” sees him merely pick a warped piece of plucking, establish its original content and then sink it deeper and deeper into a watery grave with other loops. It sounds beautiful and heartbreaking, by the time he’s done burying it.
Hints of a more traditional presentation of new age come and go, as in the zither-strummed “Lake at the Dawn”, which has lovely chords and contradicting rattles, suggesting the warm sunshine of a Laraaji piece -- oftentimes, though, it’s all in the way Chalmers dilutes and manifests his material. A lovely record that blurs beauty and dissonance into some sort of distant star.
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