Richard Chartier: Current

A high-pitched tone wrapped in a softly shimmering cloud comes ever so glacially into aural view at the start of Richard Chartier's Current, a twenty-minute piece that takes its thematic inspiration from the disassociating effects of airplane travel and the air and ocean currents surrounding the vessel. Listener's familiar with his recordings will expect something that flirts with the threshold of audibility and, true to form, the first sound of a conventional magnitude appears after almost precisely three minutes. Dark, clarinet-like tones and a faint percussive tapping emerge halfway through, signaling the piece's gradual development into a multi-layered sound field. Chartier's uncompromisingly austere style isn't understandably to every listener's taste but does provide a certain kind of ascetic pleasure to those with an appetite for sustained, tension-inducing set pieces.

December 2006