Richard Chartier and Robert Curgenven – Built Through (Line)

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Line has always been about subdued digital near silence and Built Through by label owner Richard Chartier with onkyo turntablist Robert Curgenven offers no surprises. One could get tired of Chartier’s pernickity consistency, from the capitalised sans serif font, the blandly formalist titles, austere cover art, continued reference to architecture and space … were the music not so subtly spellbinding, as is the case here.

It’s interesting to read of how these pieces were produced, using pipe organ (‘invariance strata’), wine glasses (‘displacement’), and multiple turntables and dubplates throughout, but ultimately futile, as it’s the usual digital processing which dominates. What matters is the finished pieces, all of which are persistently engaging, drawing you in through miniscule gestures, gradual development and a firm understanding of compositional balance.

The language is all cold machine hum, insectoid chirrups and cotton wool whoosh, familiar through any number of previous Line releases, but perhaps a greater emphasis on that warm whoosh than usual. ‘Built Through Both Sides’ introduces an almost noisy series of scratches over its twenty five minutes, but they are both infrequent and faithful to the track’s dominant sound and require no warning to those tempted to crank the volume high (a necessary requirement). Curgenven’s presence could be responsible for the naturalistic hum throughout, which one can imagine seeping like perfume from his dubplates, enriching Chartier’s precisionism with a welcome breathe of fresh air.

Joshua Meggitt

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