TALVIHORROS / DAMIAN VALLES: Monuments And Ruins (Textura)


Posted on Jun 20th 2012 01:35 am

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Talvihorros / Damian Valles: Monuments And Ruins

Monuments And Ruins
Textura 2012
03 Tracks. 48mins18secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD

Delivering on average one album every couple of years has allowed Textura to be extremely selective in their choices. Following on from the excellent Kubla Khan collection (2008), which collected a handful of songs by The Retail Sector, Ryan Francesconi, Alexander Turnquist and orchestramaxfieldparrish, inspired by the nineteenth century poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge Kubla Khan, Or A Vision In A Dream. A Fragment, and the equally delightful, if somewhat sparse, album by Canadian duo Mains De Givre, Esther Marie (2010), Textura got in touch with London-based experimental guitarist Ben Chatwin, who records as Talvihorros, and Canadian ambient and drone artist Damian Valles, and asked them whether they would consider collaborating on a split release. The result is almost fifty minutes of atmospheric experimentation split almost equally between Chatwin’s two part piece From Within A Hollow Body and Valles’s Hollow Earth Theory.

Whist the two evolve in slightly different spheres, their respective sound worlds have much in common and complement each other rather splendidly here. Both musicians work with a number of instruments, but the primary focus is on guitars, which are used in both raw and treated forms to create the backbone of their individual contributions.

The album opens with solitary streaks of bowed acoustic guitars, but rapidly the space around these fills up with vibrant sonic constellations which Chatwin builds layer upon layer, channelled over an underlying stream of distortions. Although all this pops up at a rapid pace, the melancholic drone of a viola can clearly be heard ebbing and flowing in the background as various plucked instruments echo around as if they were calling out to each other. Occupying much of the first part of the Talvihorros contribution, this wonderfully rich and fluid soundscape slowly drifts away to reveal some of its more delicate components, before the rumbling sound of layered electric guitars exposes the drone formations which populates the underbelly of the piece. The second half of From Within A Hollow Body opens under rather sombre skies, with stirring bowed sequences and distorted guitars coagulating into a particularly dense sonic cluster from which eventually emerges lighter sparkles as the dark clouds slowly lifts. Although the space remaining appears desolate, scattered touches of acoustic and electric guitars slowly lead the piece onto a lush pastoral conclusion.

Hollow Earth Theory is a decaying tale of inexorable time passing, as seen, it seems, at microscopic level. In the opening minutes of his piece, Valles arranges miniature textures and noises into a pleasant, if somewhat intriguing, sequence, but soon, darker currents pass through, resulting for a moment in much bolder environmental noises. Scraped, brushed or randomly plucked strings, resonating wood, disjointed piano motifs all combine to convey an image of a slowly disintegrating universe, where chaos and collapse are the most common currencies. A the half-way mark, all these are unexpectedly swallowed by a monolithic drone, its structure, too complex to be unpicked, filters out some processed guitar and piano textures, upon which occasional noises bounce at irregular intervals. The status quo is not maintained for long however as guitar motifs, then clusters of noises spurt out from the central drone to bring it back to life for a moment, before it all dies down as suddenly as it had appeared, leaving only a few scratches and a distant piano to counteract the dying drone.

Although Ben Chatwin and Damian Valles each recorded in their respective homes, one in the UK, the other in Canada, they have created two pieces, which, whilst following very different paths, feel surprisingly complementary. Talvihorros’s From Within A Hollow Body feel more ambitious in scope, whilst Valles’s Hollow Earth Theory is subject to a much more contrasted progression, but ultimately, both pieces combine into a incredibly refined and evocative album well worthy of attention.


Talvihorros | Damian Valles | Textura
Amazon UK: CD US: CD

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