Los-Angeles based sound artist Pinkcourtesyphone (Richard Chartier) explores a dreamlike approach to reductionist sound art on his new LP Sentimental Something. Described as a “sonic love note of smudged ink” on his website, Sentimental Something traces familiar territory for Chartier whose countless installations, recorded sound works and releases via his own LINE label document some of the most striking minimal digital explorations of recent years.
Sentimental Something offers listeners a hazy, occasionally unsettling and frequently melancholic soundscape in three parts, ably assisted by Evelina Domnitch’s haunting theremin accompaniments on ‘Tears of Modernism’ which, clocking in at 8:32 is the shortest piece on the LP and about as close as we get to a single. ‘Fabric Illusion / High On Neuroticism’ and ‘Casual Encounter / Formal Encounter’ sandwich Domnitch’s theremin excursions between lengthier, contrasting audioscapes which seamlessly link together to complete the record.
Although it’s easy to draw connections to the hauntological explorations of Leyland Kirby, repetition and degradation of musical vignettes by Greg Gorlen or the deep mechanical emptiness of David Lynch and Alan R. Splet’s Eraserhead soundtrack, the thing that strikes boldly about Pinkcourtesyphone’s Sentimental Something is it’s deep consideration for the listener. This LP explores the act of listening by interrelating spatiality to silence and perception to focus, relying on precise arrangements of sounds which are just on the cusp of recognition – bell tolls? field recordings? air vent drones? computer glitches?
Every part has been slowed down, drawn out and reduced to it’s core only to be further orchestrated through digital manipulation (decay, reverb, delay) with the end result of hooking the listener smoothly into Chartier’s unique sound word. The audio snippets are mostly always interesting but at times Sentimental Something is a little too sedate and a little less entertaining than 2014’s Description of Problem (also featuring a collaboration with Evelina Domnitch amongst others). Sentimental Something is a record which demands time and attention from the listener, ideally paired with a decent set of headphones to pick up the full details in each piece but it’s well worth the listen and certainly stands up as an important document in the field of contemporary minimal-digital composition.
Available July 7 via Important Records