I find Anne-James Chaton strangely wonderful. He has appeared here reading out the serial numbers from receipts found in Carsten Nicolai’s wallet on Alva Noto’s unitxt, and reading news reports of important events of 2009 along with other texts (like the terms and conditions on train tickets) associated with those dates on his solo Événements 09, both on Raster-Noton. The vocals here continue both his M.O. of creating repetitive list poetry out of found fragments and the interest in dates, places, and the patterns that run through them. So we get an account of the last minutes in the life of Princess Diana, the dates of fatal plane crashes, and descriptions of what you see when you leave various underground railway stations around the world. This is less minimal than either of those earlier works, though. Most obviously, we have the mournfully resonant chords of Andy Moor’s guitar rumbling around underneath much of it, and the scritching of tortured strings… and even a Slint-like melody of sorts on one Moby Dick-inspired track. (Moor is new to me, wikipedia tells me he was in the Scottish improvisational punk band Dog Faced Hermans and the Dutch punk collective The Ex.) There are also other voices (English ones, giving sometimes an echoed translation to Chaton’s doleful French and sometimes some kind of response) and a restrained and interesting use of samples (Grace Kelly from Rear Window on a companion piece to the Princess Diana one, black box recordings on the plane crash one, sea storms and Gregory Peck’s memorable Captain Ahab on the Moby Dick one). It all works rather wonderfully, I’m a sucker for music based around the spoken word, and I love this hugely.
I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Home Listening / Modern Classical / Ambient.