Talvihorros: It's Already on Fire

On Talvihorros's debut album It's Already on Fire, the track “Snowglobe” proves to be an apt metaphor for the style of the release as a whole, with many of the tracks compact constructions that, like the shaken ornament, quietly dazzle and bemuse. Throughout the release, Ben Chatwin wraps his understated electroacoustic dreamscapes in the whirr and click of sampled and digital textures. The eleven succinct settings (many composed when he was at university in Brighton between 2001-04) augment natural sound sources (acoustic and electric guitars, glockenspiel, melodica, organ, banjo) with digital materials (radio static, feedback, tape hiss, electronic malfunctions) to form densely-layered set-pieces that never lose their fundamental melodicism.

Some pieces are languorous by design—“Terrach” is as soft as an ambient cloud, whereas “Climbing Mountains” transports the listener into bucolic territory with a mix of sleepy rhythms, acoustic guitars, and glockenspiel melodies—whereas others are more animated by comparison: interlocking bell patterns and minimal beat elements lend “Monday's Child” a propulsive quality, while the click and clatter of a typewriter provides an anchor for willowy wind tones blowing through “These Numbers Mean Nothing.” “Safe as Helicopters” features a growly male voice grumbling about suicides and assassinations before the machine-like click of found sounds coheres into a rhythm track, and “Etude II” covers the ponderous lilt of acoustic guitars with a blanket of textures. Other memorable pieces are “Different Shades,” whose twilight piano theme proves haunting, and “Snowglobe,” whose glistening music box tinkles help make it the album's prettiest piece. Though Chatwin cites many artists as influences, Labradford, Erik Satie, Oren Ambarchi, and Taylor Deupree appear to be those with which Talvihorros has the most in common.

May 2009