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Starting this drone edition with the two versions of Lineleh means we’re immediately diving deep into the most minimalist of drones. Richard Chartier and Eleh (personal information remains enigmatic, despite his/her impressive output… which was an inspiration for brainwashed as well as Noise Park) worked together in 2015 and 2016 to refine this drone celebrating their fascination for micro-nuances.
The micro-nuances best reveal themself with headphone listening, although quiet amplification is also recommended. This is deep listening material, not many people will listen to these long-form drone pieces with continued concentration. But that is not the issue: on ‘quiet amplification’ it is as ignorable as it is interesting – and isn’t that the original definition of ambient music? The kind of sounds that merge with the sounds of your own environment, altering the atmosphere to match with your own state of mind.
Lineleh is released in two separate versions: a 73 minute version and a 128 minute version. Though the first version would have fitted on a CD, both editions are digital-download only.
II is not simply a stretched version of I: there’s a distinct difference in the two pieces – although they may use the same basic sound material.
I is a drone piece in the truest, most minimal possible way, reminiscent of some of the work of Eliane Radigue.
II explores the micro-nuances, isolating some of its parts and zooming into it with microscopic detail.
In the first 30 minutes of II, there’s a faint yet distinctive whoop sound, something like the start of a loop sample, introducing a ‘rhythm’ to hold on to. A strange artefact, unusual to this kind of drone sounds, which does not seem to be present in the I version. But when it finally disappears, the dive feels even deeper than before.
These two versions should definitely be regarded as pieces on one single album, even though they are available separately. It’s not either/or, but it’s a three-hour-and-twenty-one minute trip through “distinct floating durational interactions through slowly shifting waves.
Sublime microtonal transitions by modern minimalist mavens, Eleh+ Richard Chartier = Lineleh. Clocking in at over one hour and two hours each, respectively, you’ll need to make some time, but it’s totally worth it.
It would be waste of your time, and ours, to try and describe in detail the exquisite nuance of their two durational pieces, however it’s really worth noting the way in which they manage to stealthily underplay each other and maintain a steadiness of hand and imperceptible progression throughout.
The results are genuinely, almost dangerously hypnotic (not recommended listening for driving or operating heavy machinery) in their sense of poise and control, and especially the way in which Chartier very subtly agitates Eleh’s usually crystal clear tones to perfuse the sound field with gauzier texture. But you can trust that Lineleh I concludes with some jaw-droppingly rich bass tone resolution, whereas Lineleh II sustains that ætheric harmonic thizz in uncannier, spaced out and floating dimensions.
Well, if this is not the “muted drone” release of the year, then tell me what is.
Born from a bilateral esteem for each other’s production, the two tracks conceived by Eleh and Richard Chartier for LINELEH last 73+ and 128+ minutes respectively. That means: urge your relatives to go somewhere else. It’s time for unsocial contemplation, the sort of sinking into the self that condenses rare subconscious fluids from the bottom impurities we’re ceaselessly subordinate to. The cleanup process of unsought scoriae is tough, but a correct aggregation of upper partials can pull off a miracle sometimes.
Having not studied Eleh’s entire output, the lingering sensation – once acknowledged the impressive wallop of his pulsating matters – has always been one of “mere event lacking a soul”. This might substantiate the project’s quasi-mystic anonymity in opposition to a degree of listener’s coldness. On the other hand, this writer cannot sleep without infinitely repeating “Black Mountain 1933” – a gorgeous low-frequency throb extracted from Floating Frequencies/Intuitive Synthesis II – in his earbuds. Those subsonic emissions work wonders indeed; the man definitely knows how to shuffle cables and set parameters for a complete invasion of the cranial conduits. Chartier’s renowned expertise in “tuning” a given space as in an immaculate auditory temple, in conjunction with a declared subliminal influence of humming refrigerators and the likes, constitute the ideal counterbalance for Eleh’s sinewy sinewaves (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun). Being not aware if there were preliminary talks in regard to the sonic layout, we hypothesize files exchanged over and over, the artists gradually adding layers and shades. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter: the resulting radiations produce an improvement on all levels.
Don’t bother asking about descriptions, just remember that this moaning-and-quietly-burbling wonder repays loyalty. It’s environmental healthiness, it’s a fortifying cure for the bone marrow. A soundtrack for long hours of brokenhearted reflection, but also a shelter from perilous thoughts. It makes one notice the oblique light cutting the floor through the window, the dust that has been there for weeks, and the absolute unwillingness to alter that condition. It defends your right to isolation. Still, should you choose to air out the house – as I did – while surrounded by LINELEH, do not be surprised if you feel relieved when birds are heard chirping louder as they signal the upcoming spring.