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Richard Chartier + Taylor Deupree

Specification.Fifteen
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REVIEWS OF
Specification.Fifteen
  • This limited CD documents a performance by sound artists Taylor Deupree and Richard Chartier alonside an exhibition of the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Seascapes. These images are the same but different, capturing, from some ineffable vantage point, a few miles of unbroken ocean, a horizon, an occluded reflecting sky. They are at once featureless and teeming with detail, luxuriously immersive and impenetrably distant. Chartier and Deupree’s response to the mute challenge of Sugimoto’s photographs is equally spare and delicately nuanced. Specification.Fifteen is 45 minutes of felicitous subtlety – composed of featherweight skeins of sound, it’s a perfect balance of spare austerity and filigree pleasure. For fully five minutes, in fact, the sound is just the barest and most ghostly of whispers. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the first hints of definition emerge. There’s a low, calming hiss of indeterminate origin and a softly keening tone like the gentle slide of metal on glass. Over the course of the piece, these elements ebb and flow, rising and falling in volume, and gradually gathering soft, echoing clouds around them. They might be sparse, but Chartier and Deupree have chosen their ambiguous details with care. They serve as a reminder that, for all their opnness to the elements, Sugimoto’s Seascapes remain a strikingly articficial undertaking – a formal project whose blend of simplicity and complexity rivals that of Bartlebooth, the seascape painter whose circular pursuit of oblivion lies at the heart of Georges Perec’s Life, A User Manual.
    (The Wire, UK)

  • This music is the response to an invitation by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, whose curators asked Chartier and Deupree to create a soundscape for a retrospective exhibition by Hiroshi Sugimoto, a famous Japanese photographer whose splendid “Boden Sea” picture is featured on the cover of this CD. The light and dark shades of grey seen there give a correct perspective on the deeply affecting sensorial blur that the music elicits. Thick clouds of gaseous matter, moving from one side to the other in the stereo field, follow dazzling pulses that seem to come from everywhere except the speakers. Washes of hissing low-pressure ectoplasms join catatonic loops, leading us into territories that might not be unknown to the experts in this area but, thanks to the brilliant sense of spacing that only artists at this level have, the music radiates with that sort of interior harmoniousness that causes the recollection of the most striking personal experiences. At one moment, and I never doubted that it had to happen right then, the outside afternoon light projected the shadow of trembling leaves on the wall of my room, in the very same instant in which the sound particles had gathered around me and my wife, both in a gentle torpor state: it looked like the sound’s warmth was trying to caress our head. The whole “Specification.Fifteen” is just that, a significant exposure to something impalpable, yet able to change the heartbeat’s rhythm when one finally surrenders to its constant slow flow.
    (Touching Extremes, IT)

  • Though they have collaborated before, 12k label head Taylor Deupree and LINE sublabel founder Richard Chartier have never come together under such amazing circumstances. Both were invited by the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, to commission a new work inspired by the serene seascape photography of Hiroshi Sugimoto as part of his celebrated retrospective. The duo’s audio interpretation of the photography does justice to Sugimoto’s work, as the 45-minute composition unravels slowly with a graceful stillness found in the majority of Chartier’s work and Deupree’s landmark album Stil. Specification.Fifteen starts off with a low droning sound (found in a majority of Chartier’s long-form pieces) that eventually fades into quiet murmurs of sound, which eventually fold into sounds that are textbook Deupree. The duo creates an atmosphere that is easy to immerse yourself in and get lost for an hour or 12. A simply outstanding, arresting piece from start to finish.
    (allmusic.com)

  • Richard Chartier is a fellow known for his space… well when I say space I probably mean silence. You see, he’s got an incredible knack for making the sound of very very little become something VERY listenable and even, dare I say it, exciting. This time around the Line boss meets long time friend and 12k head honcho Taylor Deupree for a collaborative venture which sees them concentrating less on silence and more on gorgeous, drifting waves of sound. No surprise then that the music is based on a series of photos named ‘Seascapes’ from acclaimed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto – I mean it was hardly going to be inspired by serial killers and sadistic torture was it? Specification Fifteen is a single 45 minute track, yet hidden within the quiet murky waves of static are many simple movements of subtle sound and harmony. Maybe comparable to William Basinski or the more listenable end of the Raster Noton catalogue, this is another essential record from the 12k/Line stable, and yet another Deupree related cd to get me all fidgety. Sometimes the most beautiful things are the least obvious, and Deupree and Chartier have come up with an unpretentious and poetic piece of sound to mirror this sentiment perfectly.
    (Boomkat, UK)

  • 12k boss Taylor Deupree teams up with Line and 3Particles man Richard Chartier for this wonderful object-lesson in how to create a sculptural work of sonic art. Inspired by the Seascaoes series of photographs by renowned Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, the piece itself is a live work recorded at Washington DC’s Hirshhorn Museum. Taking the form of one long, slowly evolving track it builds up into a densely layered piece with deep, micro variations that change the tone considerably but do it in an almost subliminal way. It’s stark, beautiful and will provide endless hours of dream-like drifting for those that engage with it. A marvellous and important work from these two masters of their art. Highly recommended indeed. 
    (Smallfish, UK)

  • Specification.Fifteen grows in shape and form slowly from silence, slowly the shape and definition the drones and electronics become clear, but never too defined. This is the real definition of ambient music, at normal stereo volume it just paints the rooms tone in soothing pastel colours, like autumnal first light just lighting the room. It feels very much like seeing something on the horizon and the closure you get the more divined it gets. But it never seems to fully formed, always having an allusive mysterious edge. It has a wonderfully slow moving air to it, like watching a flower open, sweet bell like drones mix with the dwelling stayed tone. Certainly not music for those wanting quick rewards ,you have to live and breathe this for sometime. Do other things while listening and you’ll suddenly pick up exquisite tones and textures, it really is music to let drift around your space, to let sink into you being. under closer head phone inspection, it stands up too , this is not just audio soup, it’s a collection of enchanting and well crafted sound textures. The piece was original commissioned by the Hishhorn museum and sculpture garden in Washington DC, for a exhibition of seascape photos by renowned japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Now you can have it paint your space, with its settling tones.
    (musiquemachine.com)

  • Of course we never lost track of Taylor Deupree and Richard Chartier. Both artists are as prolific as Alva Noto, but usually find their way in Vital Weekly much more easily. It has been seven years since they played together on a release, ‘Spec.’ on 12K. Recently they were asked to play a piece ‘inspired by the Seascape series of renowned Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’, whose photographic output looks like a score of the work of Deupree or Chartier: silent, quiet, still. That is not what we get here, at least not in its purest form. Since we are dealing here with a live recording, things are a bit more rougher edged. It seems as though sea or water like sounds formed the starting point for both, certainly at the start of the CD, but as the piece develops, things become more abstract, through the extensive opening of all sorts of audio filters and whatever current fashion in software wizardness. The final minutes are reserved for even a ‘kind of’ rhythmic piece, slow and peaceful of course, once more, the final coda, of a sea washing ashore. Less refined that some of their studio work, but another happy return. 
    (Vital Weekly, NL)