BEN CHATWIN - Drone Signals LP
Following Staccato Signals, the much-acclaimed third album under his own name, composer and producer Ben Chatwin will release its companion piece Drone Signals. Unlike Staccato Signals where Ben started with a blank slate and built the music up layer by layer, finishing with the string quartet, this time the process began with everything on hand. The task became dismantling the tracks stripping them apart to see what was left, letting certain sounds or instruments become the focus, and then rebuilding the arrangements around them. This allowed elements to breathe, yet also to become more static. The less chaotic and more ambient nature of these pieces suggested a related album of versions, a conceptual sibling Drone Signals. Feeding string parts through an array of modular synthesisers, utilising modern sampling and granular synthesis, Ben remoulded what was once players performing in a room into new microscopic electronic textures. By using the final element of the previous album, recording the strings, as a starting point to feed into his machines, Ben developed a central conceptual tool of his previous album giving up control even further. The result is a fractured and dissembled interpretation of Staccato Signals as performed by modular synthesisers. In this way, Drone Signals might best be understood as the aftermath of Staccato Signals, a post-apocalyptic sonic landscape. It retains much that made Staccato Signals such a rewarding album its mournful beauty, the tense, ambiguous relationship between electronic and acoustic elements, and a delicate if not volatile balance between elegance and intensity. This time, however, the palette is broader, more static concerned more with monolithic structures than with sharp edges.