Richard Chartier | Series
LINE | CD
The first release on 12k sub-label Line - "presenting new digital.conceptual.ultra.minimalist.sound" - 'Series' sets the tone for future releases by, amongst others, Immedia, Steve Roden and Bernhard Günter. Rapidly becoming established as one of the more audacious, albeit quiet, participants within the field of microwave, Chartier's latest and arguably purest work to date sets a benchmark that will be a challenge to follow.
Few artists use the spaces between audio quite as effectively or as courageously as Chartier. A parallel might be drawn with the diaphanous atmospheres of Bernhard Günter or the more austere soundscapes of Francisco Lopez but Chartier is altogether something different. Like his delicate paintings, there is the distinct sense that each discrete audio event - each crackle, pop and hiss - is treated with all the reverence usually reserved for sculptural elements of (seemingly) larger and more tangible significance.
'Series' demands close, attentive listening and - perhaps more fundamentally - a quality pair of earphones. Sound objects cascade from the quiet, establishing themselves during brief bursts of activity only to die away moments later. A parallel might lie at the level of viruses or bacteria, where activity - though often ferocious - takes place almost unseen. Series opens to a sequence of sustained attacks on an invading cancer, massed white cells repeatedly wreaking havoc at cellular level, a vibrant encounter that unfolds within the space of no more than a few seconds. Series meanwhile occupies a much more spacious niche, perhaps the constant fluctuations of alveoli within a lung...
There's no question that these works have been painstakingly accumulated, honed and crafted and it comes as no surprise to discover that 'Series' was a full eight months in production. For the attentive listener - despite its outward insubstantiality - it will easily repay a lifetime of listening.