mon 21/10/2019

CD: Ben Chatwin - Heat & Entropy | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ben Chatwin - Heat & Entropy

CD: Ben Chatwin - Heat & Entropy

Further bleak and beautiful ambient-classical-drone textures

'Heat & Entropy': fine detail and sublime signifiers of size

Ben Chatwin's music speaks loudly of solitude. He lives and records on the coast of the Firth of Forth, just outside Edinburgh – not exactly the most isolated of spots, but it's not hard to hear in his waves of texture and simple repeated motifs the endless grey presence of the North Sea rolling out into the distance.

This is Chatwin's second album under his own name, but his ninth if you include the albums he made as Talvihorros on a number of labels, and it is much the same that he's always done: bowed strings that shimmer and pizzicato ones that echo, grainy guitar textures rising up in waves and sprays, abstracted and distorted rumbles and thrums, and melody – if it is present – always limited to the very simplest of four or five note steps up and down a scale or arpeggio. 

It's peculiar music that, like a grey seascape, is never the same twice

But within this simplicity is variation and immense depth. It certainly feels like there has been a maturing of his sound: on this album there is a certainty to those melodies, an increased sense of dramatic structure within tracks whether its through three minutes of subtle washes in “Oscillations”, or seven minutes of contrapunctal high drama in “The Kraken”.

Often, thanks to parts like the fuzzed-out synth ripples of “Standing Waves” or the patient cimbalom of “Phantom Lights” we're transported into a zone of distant memories of cold war thrillers. It's peculiar music that, like a grey seascape, is never the same twice: depending on your mood, sometimes bleak can just mean bleak, but at others fine details reveal themselves, what was monochrome becomes full of pointillist colour, and the seemingly blank spaces can become sublime signifiers of size.

@JoeMuggs

Watch the video for "The Euclidian Plane": 

Often we're transported into a zone of distant memories of cold war thrillers

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.