Talvihorros remains in hibernation while Ben Chatwin issues a third album under his own name for Village Green. This one began as an attempt to do a purely electronic analogue synth album, but that’s not really our Ben, is it? Acoustic instrumentation found its way into things sooner or later, and what you get is a record bubbling with analogue warmth and cinematic strings.
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Someone sign this dude up to score a BBC space opera. Village Green unveils Ben Chatwin’s ‘Stacatto Signals’ and I’ve fallen ill with a strain of sci-fi devastation. A record of propulsive metallic sheen and intricate neo-classical, Chatwin’s created something at an intersection. Cinematic and industrial, narrative but unpopulated, his music is for a movie acted out by emotional machines on a factory floor out in the galaxy.
Working from what sound like influences IDM and a newer school of composition that includes Max Richter, plus the grainy textures of a noisier techno era, Chatwin’s music has a lot going for it. It’s the melodic throughlines, though, that make it shine: on “Helix” there’s a damn good and damn bleak beat navigating things, moving from its unknown distance to its distorted fore -- but those strings, those hints of organics, give this record a lore that is as humane as it is environmental. The punchy synth of “Knots” once again gets tied up in gorgeous flurries of stringwork that suggest determination and desperation to go with the mere movement.
Chatwin’s mix of acoustic arrangements alongside his analogue synths is quite charming: records like this can be cold and good for it, but ‘Stacatto Signals’ feels involving for its warmth, or its hope that it might one day return to these strange, cold places.
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