solitude and wilderness

Engraving of Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley, CA.

This tape here has quite taken me aback I don’t mind telling you. I’m familiar with young Mr Chalmers as a repurposer of salvaged old cassettes, looping and processing them to make rather wonderful new chunks of music from the debris of the old. Plunderphonics and such like, you know. As this new release swam up into view at a convenient time I thought I’d give it a whirl and, the mournful cover art and title aside I suppose I was ill prepared for what was to greet me therein. ‘In The Heart Of Solitude’ is far calmer, more beautiful and emotional than the sort of lurid lo-fi tape splatter I was anticipating. At first it drones and loops along charmingly and I took this as just being different source material coupled with a desire for a more ambient end result but the longer I listened the more I was puzzled by how he’d managed to achieve this. Turns out that in this case a lot of the sources are tapes of Chalmers himself playing a swarmandal (an Indian zither) prepared with objects and then subjected to his usual tinkering. As I say, it’s pretty glorious and arresting stuff. Now, Chalmers is nothing if not prolific and this is plainly a companion/sequel/follow up/whatever to a tape he released earlier in the year through Was Ist Das but which I completely missed called ‘Heart of the Wilderness’. Taken together they form a really remarkable piece of music. ‘Solitude’ is quieter and more reflective than ‘Wilderness’ which plays off the rushing beauty of central track ‘Cascade’ against ‘Blood Yearns’ an ominous ten minute clank and rumble to the dark end of the woods where the monsters hide. For the most part it’s far more contemplative and perhaps, as the titles suggest, best enjoyed alone on walk. Final track ‘Eternal Return’ brings back the tape distortion and looping, echoing figures to quite lovely, almost tidal, effect but both tapes are full of stunningly rich and evocative music, they’re a joy.




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