TALVIHORROS: Descent Into Delta (Hibernate Recordings)


Posted on Sep 6th 2011 01:42 am

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Talvihorros: Descent Into Delta

Descent Into Delta
Hibernate Recordings 2011
05 Tracks. 38mins20secs

London-based experimental guitarist Ben Chatwin first appeared two years ago when his debut album as Talvihorros, Some Ambulance, was one of the very last releases from Scottish imprint Benbecula. But, as the label folded, Chatwin soon found a new home with Hibernate Recordings, who published the excellent Music In Four Movements last year. Just over a year on, Chatwin is back with his latest offering, Descent Into Delta. Unlike previous records, which were essentially the fruit of studio-based experimentations, the five tracks from this new record began life as live improvisations. The original recordings have since been submitted to intense editing, processing and recomposing to eventually form the core of this opus. During this process, Chatwin became interested in how the mind fluctuates between various states of consciousness. Descent Into Delta is a representation of the move from a fully alert state to one of sleep and rest.

Like on its predecessors, the music on Descent Into Delta is extremely atmospheric, built around refined layered guitar textures, but the progression is more subtle here than in was on Music In Four Movement. As Chatwin moves from the sometimes slightly rugged formations of Gamma and Beta, as saturations and distortions occasionally spread like wild fires before retreating behind more diffuse motifs, to the increased fluidity of Alpha, where distortions, while still sporadically present, only occupy a distant space in the background whist glistening acoustic components float in the foreground, to eventually reach the deeply introspective Theta and Delta. While the former appears at time to drop into somber stretches, the minimal instrumentation serving the latter gives it a delightful feeling of near weightlessness as the once gritty textures are now extremely polished and refined.

While Chatwin’s intention may be here to depict the progression from a state of wakefulness to one of slumber, it is worth staying alert through the whole record to fully appreciate Chatwin’s exquisite production work and impressive control as he moves from one state to the next almost imperceptibly. The album is articulated around five distinct pieces, but their boundaries are in most cases so intensely blurred that it becomes impossible to know for sure when one piece ends and the next start to create an almost seamless flow throughout.

Until now, Chatwin has worked alone, relying solely on guitars, both acoustic and electric, and electronics to create his soundscapes. On Delta, he is joined by viola player Anais Lalange, who weights his heavily treated sounds down with earthy autumnal tones to bring this album to a beautiful reflective close.

Occasionally evocative of the ethereal approach developed by Robin Guthrie over the years, the music created by Talvihorros is at once wonderfully dreamy and evocative, and yet manages to remain intrinsically grounded and organic. With his third album, Ben Chatwin has developed confidently as a musician and is now ready to incorporate more contrasted elements in his work.


Talvihorros | Talvihorros (Bandcamp) | Hibernate Recordings

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