£9.99 – £14.99
Ben Chatwin – Staccato Signals. Released via Village Green on Vinyl LP, CD.
Working from The Vennel, his home studio in South Queensferry, Scotland, composer and producer Ben Chatwin creates a musical language permeated with an ambiguity, or tension, between the electronic and acoustic worlds. More than just a meeting of the two, what emerges is a daring, vivid and emotionally-charged music unshackled from a traditional sense of structure and genre.
Following ‘The Sleeper Awakes’ (2015) and ‘Heat & Entropy’ (2016), ‘Staccato Signals’ is Ben’s third album under his own name. Released
through Village Green Recordings, it’s a bolder and more ambitious record than anything he has written before, largely the result of relinquishing different levels of control over the musical process. It’s an album which smoulders with an almost aggressive darkness, yet one that is laced with melodic glimmers of light.
The constant pull between the acoustic and the electronic – man versus machine – and the agile production Ben utilised to maintain their balance, is what gives ‘Staccato Signals’ its powerful and beguiling character. For Ben this came to reflect the relationship humans have both to nature and technology and the control we try to enact over our environment. Due to his breathtaking surroundings of the Firth of Forth and the North Sea, a major oil and gas reservoir and his hometown of South Queensferry – a historic site of witch executions – interconnected themes of oil, fire and burning burrowed their way deep into Ben’s psyche while writing ‘Staccato Signals’, surfacing within the textures of his music.
Throughout the album mournful strings are engulfed by harsh, allencompassing synths, while disorienting climaxes of blazing electronics
recall the deafening loudness of an inferno. Yet while the jagged, synthesized textures that needle the album together might call to mind such devastating imagery, the acoustic instruments that feature throughout the album continuously provide a more human counterbalance.
‘Staccato Signals’ is the product of a composer pushing his music completely past the outer limits of how it was originally conceived to sound, by giving up control over his equipment and other performers and giving in to his environment: “I’ve learned that my most rewarding music arises when I switch off my brain and just let things happen. It can feel like waiting for these signals that are out there somewhere in the ether to strike. The less I think about, it the more likely it is to happen.” – Ben Chatwin
Ben has performed live across the globe with the likes of William Basinski, Hauschka, Tim Hecker, Oneohtrix Point Never and Loscil.
Tracklisting: Ben Chatwin – Staccato Signals
1. Divers In The Water
2. Silver Pit
4. Fossils – Have a Listen
8. Hound Point
9. Bow Shock
10. Black Castle