Let Us Be Thankful We Have Commerce
If there's a downside to Ben Chatwin's latest Talvihorros release, it's that it might reach a smaller number of listeners due to its cassette-only format (a mere 100 copies at that). Which would be a shame, given how much it lends further weight to the conviction that the electro-acoustic work the London-based Chatwin is producing is very special indeed. Coming to us from the good folks at My Dance The Skull, Let Us Be Thankful We Have Commerce (the London-based publishing house's first foray into the music arena) spreads two ten-minute tracks across the cassette's sides.
The first side serves up a crepuscular, texture heavy soundscape where twanging guitars voice melancholy themes amidst fields of granular noise and turbulent field elements that occasionally encroach upon the track's otherwise peaceful ambiance. Imagine those beautiful, sombre passages that appeared during Godspeed You! Black Emperor's magnificent twenty-minute suites when the band wasn't tearing it up and you're close to what Chatwin's up to in the release's opening half. Intense and doom-laden it is, and all the more appealing for being so. Perpetuating the stormy feel of the first half, the slightly more plaintive second brings organ into the spectral fold, along with murmuring voices and other shuddering sounds. Though electric guitars push their way through the haze and gradually come into focus alongside a percussive-driven episode of quasi-post-rock character, Chatwin, true to form, eschews bombast for something subtler and ultimately more affecting. That it's only twenty minutes in length doesn't prevent Let Us Be Thankful We Have Commerce from registering as material rich in evocative atmosphere and personality. More significantly, it testifies further to how distinctive the music is that Chatwin's issuing under the Talvihorros name.