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Foley Folly Folio
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Foley Folly Folio
  • #24 on Boomkat‘s top 100 for 2012

  • While usually recording under his own name, his work as Pinkcourtesyphone finds him adopting a more lush, sensual palette that falls somewhere between Leyland Kirby and friend and collaborator William Basinski; soft, slow-moving drones of decayed sonic memory waft like clouds of fog through the stereo field, while spectral, disconnected fragments of female voices sigh, coo, and gently whisper from the shadows, as loops of gently swelling string balladry waltz circles around them. It is, in a sense, a more “pop” version of the methodology explored in Basinski’s work, but only via context; there is an eroticism that slowly throbs throughout this breathtaking album’s runtime that many records of a similar ilk often attempt with lackluster results. This album gets constant rotation in my home, and its magic lies in its ability to either blend into your surroundings or to completely envelop them. There is no separation between your environment and Chartier’s upon listening to this; if you play it softly, it will slowly have you spying the corners of the room, across your shoulder, searching for the breath you swear you’d just felt on the back of your neck. Played loudly, you find yourself moving in slow motion through a warmly glowing twilight, somewhat adrift, somewhat illuminated, possibly damp, possibly drowsy. Chartier’s exploration of what feels like a disorienting, lucid wet dream has created one of the best projects of his career, as well as some of the most beautiful ambient music I’ve ever heard.

  • Richard Chartier,  minimalist composer and Line label owner,  has made a welcome change for his new moniker Pinkcourtesyphone,  abandoning his usual exercises in precise and sterile tone generation for brooding ambient odes to solitude,  created from voice samples and heavy use of reverb.  To christen the name,  he released two albums in 2012,  this one,  Foley Folly Folio,  as well as Elegant & Detached,  similar in its desolate wind tunnel drift.  Never have I heard a work from Chartier with such easily discernable,  intense emotions,  or respect for sonic beauty as it is conventionally understood.

    Hearing the cesspool of lonely thoughts that is opener “Wistful Wishful Wanton”,  I find myself simply amazed at these sounds,  which I would have never believed Chartier capable of,  despite one particularly nice collection of melodic soundcurrents,  a collaboration with William Basinski,  the modestly titled Untitled 1-3.  The sluggish,  circling dance of loops recalls the satanic,  subterranean mental landscapes of Lustmord.  The last couple of minutes of the piece are an uneasy alternation of chords and a crackling voice repeating “The most wonderful night… of my life…”.  There is extraneous rustling noise and hiss throughout the album (another contrast to the deep silence of most Chartier works),  and it’s possible tape loops were used.

    The meat of the album is the 3 middle tracks,  each exceeding 20 minutes in length.  These are quieter and slower than the opener.  Chartier often lets the drift gradually taper off almost into nothingness before introducing some kind of striking reverberant gesture.  One hears whispers and remote thunderclaps along the periphery,  the muddy visages of forgotten angels.  “A Dark Room of Plastic Plants” lives up to its lovely name,  conjuring images of environs sitting still,  undisturbed.  This track is particular is more peaceful and consonant than the uneasy first., The 4th piece “Afternoon Theme / Germs Through Wires / Evening Theme” is perhaps the best to be found here,  commencing with a lilting clarinet melody which patiently recedes over several minutes into a voice sample singing the same melody,  a haunting effect.  The sound scales back further into a hushed,  hinted drone complimented by shimmering synthesizer soliloquys.  With each minute the listener slips deeper into a dreamlike crystalline realm,  entranced,  recalling the ghost processionals first dreamed by Nocturnal Emissions in the late 80’s with albums like Cathedral.  This is minimalism that never bores,  indeed very tasteful.

    The cover art,  a display a mannequin faces pictured in pink hue,  is oddly fitting,  and a perfect example of what sets this album apart from so many nature and space themed ambient albums,  there is a very personal and individual quality to this album that speaks to the alienating reality of solitary modern life more than reveals truths about the greater cosmic sphere. This is one of the greatest ambient recordings I’ve heard,  and a personal favorite.  Check out Elegant & Detached as well,  it’s just as wonderful. 5/5

  • Modern minimalist hero and boss of the Line label, Richard Chartier, debuts his new guise Pinkcourtesyphone with one of the best things we’ve ever heard from the label – the outstanding Foley Folly Folio. It’s still purely electronic and relatively minimal in the wider sense of the word, but compared with his most stringent, process-based output, it could easily be deemed “maximalist”, or perhaps most suitably, Pop Ambient. It’s ostensibly a comfortable, luxurious, lounge-ready ambient exploration, but suffused with an unheimlich atmosphere manifesting in the same way that Lynch and Badalamenti, or even Boyd Rice’s subversive affections for the underlying darkness of tiki culture and the decadent fantasy of ’50s/’60s exotica wormed its way into post-rave and ’90s ambient music. It’s apparent in track titles such as ‘A Dark Room Full Of Plastic Plants’, and ‘All Made Up’, and best summed up in Line’s own words “Pinkcourtesyphone desires to capture the sonic essence of some nicely dressed 1960’s housewife wistfully peering out her window while reclining on some lovely couch or divan, with, of course, a slowly sipped cocktail and perhaps half of a valium. Perhaps she is waiting for the phone to ring.” But trustingly, Chartier coolly navigates beyond the seas of cheese thanks to his incredibly subtle electro-acoustic applications and patient, hallucinatory grasp of spatial dynamics. There are five tracks on offer, three of which last over 20 minutes, bookended by two shorter pieces – kinda like some five stage sleeping/dosing pattern – designed to seduce, manipulate and subconsciously transform your surroundings and mood with uncanny precision. Imagine Leyland Kirby, Mark Snow and Stephan Mathieu blurred on mogadon and whisky at the Nassau branch of the Stanley hotel, and you’re almost within grasp of this album’s dark allure. Strongly recommended.

  • Ambient for the postwar suburban housewife. ”Formed from places, plastics and particulars” by sound artist Richard Chartier over several years, Foley Folly Folio is a soundtrack for the dawn of the self-medicating era, spread creamily like lipstick on plump lips. Late-afternoon Levittown ennui melts away as the sun vaporizes the last sprinkler droplets off the front lawn. A floral scent of Air Wick air freshener clouds her senses as she slips into her barbiturate haze. Hoping her husband gets home from work soon, she gazes through the window, down the street, identical houses each with a newly-planted sapling between curb and sidewalk. A young girl’s voice speaks of the “most wonderful night of my life” with Harlequin Romance breathlessness. Later, when the album begins to draw to a close, she will be whimpering, “It’s not supposed to be like this.”

    “Here is Something…That is Nothing” is a confusion of thoughts settling down into fluidity, its atmospheric pressure dropping as it transmutes into “A Dark Room Full of Plastic Plants,” calm drifting in on an insubstantial, air-conditioned mist. But there is groaning coming from the unfinished basement, dredging up a grand ascent of fat, round notes. Each upward arc of euphoria is followed by a deep trough.

    A suggestion of easy-listening music coming from the hi-fi is introduced by “Afternoon Theme” and loops in the air like cigarette smoke, doubling over itself until becoming an “Evening Theme” as candlelight and wine time approaches, and as the long shadows grow longer, things get creepy. The house is settling and strange noises are coming from the new Frigidaire. Woozy, recumbent, trapped at home in the Atomic Age, mother’s little helper is wearing off and still no sign of her husband.

    This is a plush, original ambient album. Chartier develops his themes luxuriously and unsettlingly. A Barbie doll whose eyes follow you around the room from the shelf.

  • Pinkcourtesyphone’s Foley Folly Folio, recorded between 1997 and 2011, is the debut by Chartier’s alter ego. Whereas releases under his own name are often about exploring specific artistic processes, the comparatively more maximalist and free-form Pinkcourtesyphone pieces wouldn’t sound out of place next to analog-ambient pioneers Tangerine Dream or early ’90s post-rave comedown music.
    (The Washington Post, US)

  • Pinkcourtesyphone is the not so secret alter ego of renowned sound artist Richard Chartier, and while it seems to be geared more towards a looser, more relaxed sensibility than the serious artist guise that is usually thrust upon him, it lacks none of his careful attention to structure and detail.  Quite a bit of the material on this compilation (recorded erratically between 1997 and 2011) could pass for his normal work, but throws enough curve balls to give it a distinct identity all its own.

    While the imagery and mood conveyed seems to lean a bit into the world of camp, it never goes too far. It isn’t afraid to defy expectations either, however.  For example, the overt sampled voices on “Wistful Wishful Wanton” and “Afternoon Theme/Germs Through Wires/Evening Theme” would never pop up on a traditional Chartier composition, but here they work, even if they’re treated and layered into near indecipherability.

    The textural, analog noises of “A Dark Room Filled With Plastic Plants,” however, isn’t that far removed from the style he’s known for, though the shift into almost uplifting, dreamy electronics at the end seems a bit more maximalist than I would have expected.  The same goes for the echoing, reverberated clicks and clacks of “Here is Something…That is Nothing,” which are occasionally disrupted by the almost techno-ish synth swells and jarring outbursts of sound.

    The aforementioned “Afternoon Theme…” especially mixes things up, right from its opening of distant, jazzy horn like sounds and twittering, colorful electronics.  With the exception of some passages of dissonant, machinery hums, it is far more in line with musicality than the clinical studies of sound he usually does.  In general, the three long (20+ minute) pieces that make up the bulk of this album are surprisingly varied and dynamic, even if they often delve into quiet minimalism.

    At first I was expecting Foley Folly Folio to be a bit more of a drastic departure from Richard Chartier’s normal work…for some reason I was bracing myself for disco beats and house music orchestral hits, but the result was not quite extreme as I thought.  In truth, it is probably all the better for that, and it does have a more relaxed, inviting feel overall.  While I like the usual detached, clinical approach to sound art that Chartier usually engages in just fine, the unpredictability of this one made it stand out as rather unique, compelling, and even a little fun at times.

  • Pinkcourtesyphone is the bizarrely-named alter-ego of Richard Chartier. There’s enough similarities between this and Chartier’s solo material that fans of his work will find a lot to dig into on Foley Folly Folio. Among many descriptions of Pinkcourtesyphone, perhaps the one that rings most true is “Pinkcourtesyphone operates like a syrupy dream.” This is especially true on the cryptic opener, “Wistful Wishful Wanton.” A looped, childlike voice endlessly repeats the line “The most wonderful night of my life” on top of a bed of melodic, slow-moving electronics. There’s an almost dystopian, sci-fi feeling to it with the cold and clinical nature that envelopes the piece. The album gets more menacing as it saunters ahead, crawling along at a glacial pace and filling in any discordant cracks. These pieces may be sprawling, but they’re quite dynamic as well. Foley Folly Folio acts as a separate, but still related, meditation on minimalism that Chartier does so well. Great cover art, too.

  • some finely detailed and relaxing drones, with occasional samples, making for a rather absorbing and relaxing 70 minutes of detached stillness. It’s clear from the press release that he considers this to be among his more playful work, but I think that really just means it’s less academic and more personal than his other work because I’m not finding it particularly funny. It’s sort of reminding me of Nurse With Wound’s driftier moments a little; minimal, spooky, intermittently tense sound constructions for the patient late night listener.

  • … at the opposite end of his admirably broad spectrum Chartier’s pinkcourtesyphone alter ego surfaces with a playful, deviantly post-pop debut. Other voices populate the indisputably more maximal (though none too beat-oriented) FFF, particularly wishful wistful wanton‘s woman-child. Chartier’s tongue features too – wedged firmly in his mouth, terming the release “lugubrious” & himself “considered by some to be quite fancy” & characterizing the possibly punning pcp as “dark but not arch, with a slight hint of humor”

  • Line’s primary output is an intensive dissection (and reassembly) of sound. Each release comes wrapped in a thorough description of its context and purpose, and even though the label’s back catalogue amounts to an eclectic body of sound analysis, the premise that unites the releases is actually rather simple: Line asks the listener to listen, and be marvelled by what sound ismore than what it could be said to represent. In contrast, Pinkcourtesyphone sets up Line Segments to be open to a more fantastical, less analytical listening experience; this is Chartier’s weekend persona, stripped of his sonic labcoat and free to recline into casual attire.

    The album is nonetheless informed by his impeccable handling of electronics. Much of the texture clings to the low frequencies like a mist, or buzzes gently like power cables threaded beneath the listener’s feet. These elements of the work feel earthly and serious, lapping over the boundary into Chartier’s more intensive sound explorations and adopting a more functional role within the soundscapes; they tweak the emotional hue of the surrounding shapes and establish the spatial dimensions of the album’s imagined environments.

    Then there are the more elaborate – almost cartoonish – elements, through which Pinkcourtesyphone abandons the common threads of Line’s “traditional” output: cut up gloops of garish organ, futuristic sci-fi whistles, dreamy vocal samples, orchestrated shopping channel jingles looped into awkward waltzes. There’s a synthetic and materialistic quality – shiny surfaces, artificially sweet taste – and much of Foley Folly Folio feels as though it’s been ripped from a stiffly idealistic family home, built upon a symmetry and cleanliness that feels somewhat unsettling. Sometimes the work falls deeply into faceless, trivial daydreams for minutes at a time – billowing as pink ambient clouds and fluttering as frilly synthesizer curtain tails – and while this occasionally can cause listener interest to lapse, more often than not it only helps to strengthen Pinkcourtesyphone’s eerie plastic world.

  • Pinkcourtesyphone project attempts to inject a little glamour, humour, and gold lamé… The five tracks that make up Foley Folly Folio veer between the trippy looping vocal samples of “Wishful Wistful Wanton” through assorted, lusciously layered drifts of pulsing, shiny Ambient extravagance to the long, frankly annoying electronic loops that make up the penultimate three-part track, and the brief closing peculiarity of “All Made Up.” The album falls somewhere between “Little Fluffy Clouds”-era Orb and Eno at his most cheesily bland, but is the intention is to show a lighter. poppier side to Chartier, then the disc succeeds hands down.
    (The Wire, UK)

  • Ambient. Pensaba Richard Chartier que tras más de cincuenta referencias y un sonido bastante asentado, iba siendo hora de dar una vuelta de tuerca al catálogo de Line, el sello que dirige de manera impecable. Y por eso ha creado Line Segments, una especie de subsello de intenciones vagas (“quizás más maximalista… quizás más ruidoso… quizás con intenciones rítmicas”), cuya primera referencia es el debut de Pinkcourtesyphone, “Foley folly folio”. Pinkcourtesyphone es, en realidad, un nuevo proyecto de Richard Chartier, en el que abandona sus manipulaciones sonoras al borde del silencio para realizar un homenaje a “la esencia sonora de las amas de casa de los sesenta, que se vestían de manera elegante para asomarse a la ventana, reclinadas en algún sofá de diseño adorable”. Chartier, en fin, parece querer realizar un particular homenaje a las Betty Draper de “Mad men”, pero por fortuna lo hace a su manera: superponiendo sintetizadores, efectos, samples manipulados de instrumentos acústicos y de (lo que parecen) voces humanas, para crear piezas en general largas y de poderosa carga atmosférica. Eso sí, que nadie espere una explosión de pop: comparado con el resto de su producción discográfica, “Foley folly folio” es un título mucho más asequible y disfrutable; un disco que no exige del oyente una inmersión total, pero que sigue conservando una elevadísima carga abstracta. Ideal para los que disfrutan con el ambient minimalista, pero no se atreven con el Chartier más radical.
    (GoMag, ES)

  • so far richard chartier has been focusing on minimal music very strictly but after 14 years, he’s trying pop elements with his other camp personality called ‘pinkcourtesyphone.’ I said POP, but his pop is not something you see on Ele-king. It is that physical elements meet ambient music like Marihiko Hara. ‘A Dark Room of Plastic Plants’ is like that you are stuck in a fish tank in an aquarium, and lose all sense of direction in the dark. ‘Here Is Something… That Is Nothing’ is like that you are in a submarine, and are overwhelmed with water pressure. ‘Afternoon Theme’ is like reverberations from the era of the Great Depression. Even though it is pop, as a sound artist position, it is still very heavy like something is leaning on. However, it makes you feel good, and you keep listening to them. I realized today that music doesn’t only make you feel relaxed. (japanese translation: soko hirayama)

  • Using the language of the cinema, we can say that the creator of this album, Richard Chartier is a master at building mood and tension. Without the participation of the essential features of Angelo Badalamenti recordings are in the middle of Mulholland Drive. Prominence of this music lies mainly in a climate built by silence and looped voices. The technique smacks of banality, but the precision with which this takes place is breathtaking.

  • Imagínese un disco creado como un cuento de hadas tenebroso, donde siniestras atmósferas viajan entre estrepitosos espacios cargados de misterio que no llega a asustar, de lo contrario, permiten poner a soñar los oídos, como refugiándose entre formas sutiles de narrativos ambientes que entre el humor y lo glamoroso, encuentran un lugar plácido para la mente.

    Así es Foley Folly Folio, el más reciente trabajo de pinkcourtesyphone, un alias del conocido Richard Chartier, donde abandona un poco el recurrente minimalismo y reducción digital que acostumbra presentar, para entregar una faceta más oscura que pese a construirse a partir de varias capas de sonidos, conserva lo simple y lo sutil que ya se conoce a menudo en el artista, en este caso con expresiones más volátiles y fantasmagóricas.

    El disco es extenso, llevándose casi 70 minutos de duración, entre los que el compositor crea una historia de barridos extensos de sonido, donde se camuflan diversas voces procesadas, sonidos digitales y todo tipo de elementos microscópicos, primando el detalle y la delicadeza que juegan rol especial. Es un disco lleno de sorpresas, donde pese a existir una calmada estructura de alargados cortes y lentas transformaciones, se obtiene una narrativa única que llevará al oyente a una deliciosa velada de introspección.

  • No es que de la noche a la mañana el compositor norteamericano haya traicionado su discurso o se haya desviado de su camino, pero la sensación es que, dentro de su contexto expresivo, Foley Folly Folio es la grabación más accesible y generosa de su trayectoria. Se entiende, además, que precisamente venga en forma de otro proyecto al margen de su carrera en solitario, que siempre permite mayor libertad de movimientos y despeja las dudas que pueda generar en uno mismo. En Pinkcourtesyphone, Chartier sigue transitando por los bosques frondosos y angostos del ambient, pero aquí llena más los espacios, juega más con las capas y los sonidos y, sobre todo, esparce más gas sonoro y más melodías en sus canciones. En las pistas de inicio y despedida del disco,“Wistful Wishful Wanton” y “All Made Up”, es donde más se explicita este paso hacia delante en la búsqueda de un discurso más evocador y tangible: son dos bellísimas composiciones de ambient planeador, melódico y espectral que enlazan emocional y musicalmente con el Angelo Badalamenti más paisajístico y, sobre todo, con Leyland Kirby.

    Y es que la impresión que deja este magnífico disco es que Kirby ha sido una influencia primordial en la constitución de este proyecto: a lo largo y ancho del álbum sobrevuela el espíritu de su ambient misterioso y evanescente, pero sobre todo su capacidad para dejar poso en sus reconstrucciones nostálgicas. Pinkcourtesyphone no alcanza las cotas de belleza e intensidad emocional de Kirby o su alter ego The Caretaker, eso debe quedar claro para evitar chascos, pero busca su inspiración y su esencia, y ahí estriba el factor clave para que por primera vez sintamos la música de Richard Chartier más cercana y mundana, en la mejor acepción posible que puedan tener ambos términos. Especialmente recomendado para devoradores de música ambient con proyección orgánica y emocional.

  • Romantic and elegant ambient sound produced with thin layers, a delicate feel with subtle melodies. For anyone who likes a transient, dreamy ambient, such as Grouper and William Basinski, this is recommended.
    (Doppleganger Records, JP)

  • Unlike his past resonant microsound works, Foley Folly Folio begins with a hauntingly beautiful ambient piece, which after its five and a half-minute mark drops off into a ghostly echo of a forgotten place, exploring dying media and remnants of an aural presence. The sound eventually disintegrates into its digital counterparts made up of frequencies and bits, until it’s nothing but a barely audible hum of analog equipment, dark soundscapes, and reductionist atmospherics. Ah… there you are, Chartier…

    Throughout the album Chartier explores this detached existence of suburban glamor, picked from the bits and pieces recorded during various years: 1997, 2004, and 2011. Drenched in pink hues of plastic mannequins, I can almost sence the presence of romanticism projected through the mind of a housewife [picture Betty Draper from Mad Men] , drowning in her FDA approved drug-infused haze. Perhaps she’s watching Oprah, or reading 50 Shades of Grey. But something dark and empty is hibernating behind her glass eyeballs.And as I catch a glimpse of dirt beneath her perfectly polished fingernails, a sense of coldness and unease descends upon this clinic scene.

    Perhaps serving an aperitif of avant-garde textural sounds is what inspired Chartier to release Foley Folly Folio on his LINE imprint. Whatever the reasons – I’m happy to share the “most wonderful night of my life” in the company of my favorite minimalist artist, especially if he’s mixing up a delicious cocktail. Highly recommended for fans of The Caretaker,William Basinski, Black Swan, and Stephan Mathieu.

  • Ambient come difficilmente la sentirete. Rivoltata dall’interno, dissezionata, infarcita di citazioni fumettistiche: variopinti cut up organistici, inserzioni sci-fi, sample vocali sognanti, jingle orchestrali da balera. L’autore? Un Richard Chartier che non ti aspetteresti. “Pinkcourtesyphone” è un’operazione che una tantum finisce per ribaltare, in maniera ironica e fine, le coordinate estetiche dell’intero catalogo LINE, spostando il tiro dalla raffinata entomologia microsonica a cui si ispira il manifesto dell’etichetta del sound artist di Washington, ad un habitat sonoro che richiede un ascolto molto meno analitico, in cui emerge una sorprendente vena fantastica, infarcita di elementi plastici e sintetici. Un piccolo quadro di postmodernismo digitale.
    (Blow Up, Italy)

  • Incredible journey to the fairy-tale worlds. Alice in Wonderland? Who killed Laura Palmer? #3 on TOP 15 AMBIENT ALBUMS OF 2012

  • Typically, Chartier’s music has been austere to say the least. His last under his proper name,Transparency (Performance), featured tightly wound chamber arrangements of his supremely reduced sounds. I’d liken his music to an Ad Reinhardt painting… subtle and purist, requiring a fair amount of attention to the details, and reveling in the absence of much. If Chartier’s music is an Ad Reinhardt painting, then under the guise of pinkcourtesyphone it’s something more akin to a Mark Rothko. Airy but abstract, dreamlike and organic, like a hazy cloud. It’s not surprising that Chartier felt compelled to start a separate offshoot of Line for this release, allowing him to veer pretty generously out of bounds of the usual Line aesthetic. While these pieces may be more gaseous, they are by no means less controlled or measured; Chartier’s is a careful hand. Some of the ethereal loops and disembodied voices that permeate Foley Folly Folio recall the ghostly sounds of The Caretaker, but there is far less schtick here. “Wishful Wistful Wanton” is a lovely prologue, fully of breathy, disembodied female whispers and droning loops. “Here Is Something… That Is Nothing” takes its own sparseness not without a wink, it would seem. Still, it’s quite compelling as an ethereal, spacious wander. Perhaps my favorite stretch of Foley Folly Folio is in the second half of “A Dark Room Full of Plastic Plants,” with a subtle, looped bass section that recalls muffled strings. Much of this album passes by like a dream, more of a series of impressions and afterimages than a concise series of works. The contradiction of Chartier’s methodical repertoire and deliberate hand versus the nebulous finished form of these pieces makes Foley Folly Folio a strangely beguiling album, one highly worth a listen.
    (Ear Influxion)