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Description of Problem
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Description of Problem
  • Imagine a classy film-noir, all saturated in a pink haze, stuck on a cracked plastic reel, flashing on a loop with ghost sampled vocals, shown in a dark crumbling theater, slowly collapsing with aged fabric recliners, sticky with caramel, drowned in smoke, sweat and sex. Sinking into this man-made echo chamber of imagined future and forgotten past, the listener is faced with a crucial dilemma, hold on to the present or simply let go. Like an industrial-strength dose of an opiate, the world behind the slowly moving pink curtains of this soundtrack is anticonvulsant, hypnotic and dope. Sensual, intimate and seductive – this is a pill that I’d swallow again.

  • Pinkcourtesyphone began as a project for the ultra-minimalist Richard Chartier to explore the aestheticized ennui of his beloved mid-century suburbia. He’s located his heroine in his telescoped revisionist history as a housewife garbed in white taffeta and heels whilst nursing a cocktail (and a valium) as the meatloaf cooks in the kitchen. Her thoughts might turn to the mundane reflections on this newfangled television, the various pieces of Knoll furniture that might tickle her fancy, and the fleeting thought of sexual diversion or bloodyminded revenge on an ungrateful neighbor. This is not far from the dystopia that David Lynch revealed in Blue Velvet of the horrors and fetishes that lie just beneath the surface of Americana, for example. As for how this all sounds, Chartier indulges in the off-kilter hauntology, the deleted scenes and forgotten dreams of Caretaker and Phillip Jeck in terms of a hypnotic abstraction of found materials and dislocated melodies, all buried in an avalanche of reverb and sonic decay. Descriptions Of Problem continues along this vein, with a host of high-profile guest vocalists contributing to the pharmacological haze. William Basinski appears on the first track that could very well be one of his own tape loop mantras, but his presence was culled from an answering machine message left on Chartier’s voice mail and turned into a dreamlike ellipsis of drone and fog. Cosey Fanny Tutti’s breathy narration drifts above a cold storage ambient production, where AGF’s code cracked vocals are rendered as a conveyor belt of empty consumerism and its luxurious vapidity. The unlikely collaboration with Kid Congo Powers and Richard Chartier continues, with Powers snarling above a highly spiralized whirlpool of reverb and deconstructed guitar strum. The album’s finale with a rose-colored crescendos of saccharine orchestration is blurred into solemn dispersion of atomized perfume that finds no host to cling its scent upon.

  • The two faces of Richard Chartier: i) buttoned-up own-name, ‘very formalist, minimal, and quiet. […] focused on listening and spatiality. Sensation rather than emotion.’ (Headphone Commute), and ii) Pinkcourtesyphone, ‘a project that extends into more musical and dense territories, beats, vocals, lush emotions, and fuzzy nostalgia. It has subject matter, narrative, emotional content, sexuality and lots of coded language in its titles, references, and samples.’ He evidently enjoys the freedom afforded by the latter, let louche off the leash for another run-out on Description of Problem. While previous A Ravishment of Mirror channeled a hyperreal faded-glory ’50s Hollywood with a scent of Weltschmerz, DoP proposes an ambient noir-ish narcosis of obsession and revenge, this time with vocal implants from William Basinski, AGF, Evelina Domnitch, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and Kid Congo Powers—who join PCP’s party line for ‘obsession and revenge musings and ache all down the wires.’ (Line)

    Basinski voicemail fragments crumble eponymously over “Description Of Problem / More Everything,” lightly drone-hiss kissed timbres muffled in a cotton-wool lull. ‘Maybe too much… I want more… everything,’ the vocal revenant remote-intones. Echo-drenched French prefaces “Perfunctory Attachments,” etiolated melody remotely tinting the isolationist horizons of buzz-drone, dead air and siren noises off. AGF whispers over the queasy industrial ambience of “Our Story,” opiate haze colluding with bass throb to form a crunchy pulse. These short stories collect in a creeping fog of micro- tone and texture, spectral neo-industrial clangor and aether-harmony, breaths of static and vocal treatments. The desolate long-form peak/abyss of  “Boundlessly (for M. Heyer)” hosts a lowercase footstep-beat and a glistening wind, through which Cosey Fanni Tutti slowly stalks with a hushed eerie telling of an abused woman–queasy-lush industrial-exotic crossovers conspiring in a perturbing, yet strangely sensual contours. Kid Congo Powers growls a heavy-‘verb horror-show monologue over the suffocating wooze of “iamaphotograph (darkroomversion),” which congeals beneath into a rhythmic warp for its woebegone weft of words. In infernal recursions of ‘I am a photograph, but my soul is missing,’ it ends. “I Wish You Goodbye” is more ethereal, semi-operatic sign-off, Evelina Domnitch crooning sweetly via phone to shimmering drone, a suspended animation of strings, a looped synth melody swelling into a hitherto suppressed Major 7th heaven, before closing down with a haunting ‘goodnight.’ 

    Overall, while the aesthetic of PCP is at some remove from the more chinstroke face of Chartier, Description of Problem displays a similar compositional and architectural sleight of hand. As viscid melodics and glistening electronics fizz in a haze/daze/gaze, lo-fi moments and vocal implants create distinction, with a blend of retro-Pop Art, camp and ennui allied to a somewhat sordid sense of sexuality.

  • This CD, like every other Line CD I’ve seen, comes inserted into a stylish, sombrely designed card wallet. It has six tracks and a somewhat stellar line-up of guests. Each track, bar one, contains significant material from one of these guests; this means contributions from: William Basinski, AGF, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Kid Congo Powers, and Evelina Domnitch. These contributions all take the form of vocals – though Basinski is credited with ‘voicemail’ – with some guests adding other elements too.

    Description of Problem/More Everything, the first track, does indeed feature Basinski’s voicemail. The 16 minute long piece has a dreamy atmosphere to it, with pretty loops and underlying ominous drones. The overall tone is perhaps summarised as expansive – slow-moving clouds in a huge sky. This contrasts effectively with the tiny, personal focus of the voicemail recording itself – as well as the sampled voice of Lana Turner (I assume), from the film Imitation of Life. The second track, Perfunctory Attachments, is the only one without a credited guest, and it’s eerie – very eerie. Beginning with a woman’s voice, speaking a language I don’t understand, it soon becomes an unsettling, tense piece of work. Whilst the background of this is provided by a rotted, spectral loop, the foreground is held in tension by the ‘non-linguistic’ sounds of a woman’s speech: the short intake of breath before an utterance, the sound of an aborted word – the very debris of speech. These small sounds anchor the spaces between perfectly. Our Story, featuring vocals and processing from AGF, is the shortest track on the album, and also the most overtly rhythmic piece. It burbles along on a bouncing rhythm and melody, not too dissimilar to the sound often used for the laboratory equipment of mad scientists in cartoons.

    The next track, Boundlessly (for M. Heyer), which weighs in at 18:37 minutes, features the spoken words of Cosey Fanni Tutti. I won’t ruin the story she tells, but I couldn’t help but make the cheap link back to Throbbing Gristle – I haven’t heard any of the more recent efforts from the various TG-related projects, but I would hope they sound like this in their quieter moments. It’s motorik, in a stealthy way, and beset with glitches and creeping details. The words and sounds come together to conjure an icy atmosphere, despite the overall warmth of the sounds themselves. iamaphotograph (darkroomversion), the penultimate track, comes with vocals, and a guitar sample, from Kid Congo Powers. This might be the most aggressively dark work on the album, with an atmosphere that almost ventures into a dank cellar. Bizarrely, it actually makes me think of an incredibly abstracted piece of power electronics, and indeed, at points Powers’ vocals are mangled in a manner appropriate to that genre. The whole thing is really quite murky and dirtied – in the best way. The final track, featuring the voice of Evelina Domnitch, is titled I Wish You Goodbye. With its swirling strings-esque drones, and lush, faded grandeur, it’s the obvious choice for the album closer.

    This is another great piece of work from Mr. Chartier; it’s much less ‘focussed’ than other releases I’ve heard from him – due to the guest contributions – but still very coherent and rounded. Despite the obvious colour that the various guests bring, the austerity that I often associate with Chartier’s works still lurks beneath. It isn’t, perhaps, what I would normally expect to hear from him, but that makes it all the better. Fans of Chartier will want to hear this, but fans of the guests should do so too.

  • Déjà la troisième référence de Pinkcourtesyphone dont nous parlons sur ces pages, et encore nous en avons zappé quelques unes, Richard Chartier étant devenu particulièrement actif avec ce projet (2 albums par an depuis 2014). Si l’on a décidé de retenir cette nouvelle production publiée dans la série [Segment] du label Line, c’est en partie pour ses nombreuses collaborations puisque presque chaque piste voit la participation d’un invité parmi lesquels on notera en particulier William Basinski, AGF, ou encore Cosey Fanni Tutti.

    D’une manière générale, le style musical ne change pas : Richard Chartier produit avec ce projet une musique ambient que l’on trouvera habitée, alliant nappes, sonorités flottantes, feutrées, et bruitages, souffles, field recordings particulièrement bien intégrés. On a parfois l’impression d’un travail cinématographique, le musicien s’applique à créer de véritables ambiances, utilisant les sons pour illustrer, raconter une histoire, comme cette sirène de voiture de police qui passe dans la rue mais que l’on semble entendre depuis un appartement qui a une fenêtre ouverte.

    Si le style ne change pas trop, c’est aussi que ces collaborations sont assez cadrées : l’Américain reste en charge de la musique et la participation de ses comparses est globalement cantonnée aux voix, à des personnages qui viennent habiller la musique et habiter les lieux construits par le musicien. L’ouverture illustre ceci à merveille avec un William Basinski que l’on aura un peu de mal à identifier. Description Of Problem / More Everything est d’abord parsemé de soupirs, souffles, respirations, de voix qui semblent être tour à tour masculines et féminines et assez traitées, donnant l’impression de provenir d’enregistrements radio ou vidéo.

    Aucun crédit particulier sur Perfunctory Attachments, mais il est ici assez clair que les quelques voix proviennent de films. On notera d’ailleurs le traitement de celles-ci, toujours proches du murmure, feutrées, donnant une impression de confidence. On a ensuite la surprise et le plaisir de retrouver AGF dont nous avons été très fan. Son phrasé très personnel est reconnaissable en introduction, mais cela reste discret et s’intègre là encore parfaitement à la musique qui se fait ici un peu plus pressante, voire stressante avec des boucles rythmiques de basses nasillardes.

    On lui préférera toutefois le I Wish You Goodbye qui conclut l’album de façon très enlevée avec la superbe voix de Evelina Domnitch avec qui Richard Chartier avait déjà travaillé sur son album de remixes Please Pick Up. Les nappes sont amples, les esprits libérés, c’est doux et enivrant. On citera enfin iamaphotograph (darkroomversion) qui est un peu particulier puisqu’il s’agit à l’origine d’un titre composé avec Kid Congo Powers, justement pour l’album Please Pick Up. Les deux hommes nous en offrent donc ici une relecture hantée qui dénote un peu sur cet album.

    On terminera donc par ce qui est très certainement la pièce maîtresse de cet album, à savoir Boundlessly (for M. Heyer) dont la voix est assurée par Cosey Fanni Tutti. Richard Chartier donne même l’impression de s’effacer, de revenir à son ambient minimale pour laisser place au texte et à la voix de l’artiste. On le disait en introduction, Pinkcourtesyphone produit une ambient habitée dont ce titre est encore une fois un excellent représentant. De toute beauté !

  • #2 on top releases of 2014! Collecting the sounds to a film only seen in your dreams, this auditory scape from Los Angeles-based artist Richard Chartier has been one of my greatest teachers this year. What lies herein is not music per se, nor spoken word or so-called drone and ambiance, but a lesson in listening, in one’s re-engagement with the rhythms of our imaginations. While themes of domestic abuse and detachment arise within its 69 minutes, Description of Problem is a metaphysical mystery in the vein of a Tarkovsky film or James Turrell land-art-scape. It is an experience best left to have rather than to critique upon.

  • Accompagnato dagli apporti di artisti quali William Basinski, AGF, Evelina Domnitch, Cosey Fanni Tutti e King Congo Powers – certamente non soltanto voci prestate ma anche menti creative e consapevoli di tutto quello che un’ambientazione sonora può esprimere – ritroviamo Richard Chartier, che sotto il moniker di Pinkcourtesyphone, alla sua quarta uscita su formato esteso dopo il debutto, avvenuto nel 2012 con Foley Folly Folio, dà vita a una produzione molto evocativa, scura e coesa, ricca di suggestioni ambientali e temi narrativamente densi. Ossessione e riscossa, sessualità, desolazione, devozione, sensualità e possesso, sono solo queste alcune delle ricorrenti malie che percorrono i solchi, incantamenti sublimati fra melodie appena accennate e pattern iterati, melanconici e narcotizzanti. Paesaggi sonori dalle elaborazioni di taglio ambientale con le voci sempre bene in equilibrio nel contesto strutturale dei brani, forti di minimi sussulti, fra piccole emergenze auditive, cracking e respiri, onirici inviluppi e decadimenti tonali. Assolutamente nella parte sono soprattutto le tre “signore”, AGF, Evelina Domnitch e Cosey Fanni Tutti: eroine provenienti da differenti contesti e storie generazionali, comunque femme fatal, duttili nel modulare emozioni improvvise o più lenti veleni auditivi; senza nulla togliere naturalmente alla maestria di Richard Chartier, che rimane una delle figure più imponenti nelle scene del riduzionismo elettronico, artista sempre attento nell’esplorare la natura dei suoni e la loro percezione, considerando l’atto stesso d’ascolto come un elemento basilare della composizione e non come qualcosa di separato, alieno o accessorio. Uscita assolutamente fascinosa e consigliabile.

  • What began as a lighter side project to Richard Chartier’s more academic work under his own name has evolved into its own distinct entity.  Featuring some high profile vocal collaborations, including William Basinski, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and Kid Congo Powers, Description of Problem has Chartier expanding his kitchy project even further, into a dark, sexy album that adds another glittering jewel into his discography.

    At times, PCP stays somewhat close to Chartier’s own work.  Opener “Description of Problem/More Everything”, with Aurora Liminalis collaborator William Basinski appearing via voicemail, is not too far removed from what appeared on that album:  glistening, shiny melodies and electronic interference in an otherworldly haze.  The lower fidelity moments and sampled voices are what gives it a distinct character compared to his other works.  “Perfunctory Attachments,” the only one here that is Chartier alone, follows a similar pattern and style.  The voice samples and haunting melody ensures it remains distinct from his other material, but his expert use of understated electronics is clearly present.

    One of the most significant developments from the previous PCP albums comes on “Our Story,” featuring vocals by AGF.  The piece retains the Valium haze of the other album, but here Chartier employs an almost percussive bass throb that evolves into a crunchy, distorted pulse.  The appearance of scattered melodic shards in the beginning and end keeps it clearly a PCP release, but his flirtations with rhythm are refreshing.

    The album’s centerpiece is a dark and captivating collaboration with Cosey Fanni Tutti titled “Boundlessly (for M. Heyer)”.  Chartier keeps the noises low and rumbly throughout, with creepy bits of melody and crumbling sound textures that enhance the impact of her voice.  Cosey’s spoken vocals are hushed and intimate, and while the content of the lyrics may be disturbing, she brings an undeniable sensual mood that is beautifully matched with the lush electronic backing.

    Gun Club/Cramps member Kid Congo Powers appears on a reworking of PCP’s “iamaphotograph (darkroomversion)”, which appeared previously on Please Pick Up. On here it is pulled apart and disjointed even more, with Powers’ male voice standing out forcefully in the contexts of the otherwise feminine voices that dominate the album. The result is an ugly and intimidating bit of animus amongst the anima that comprises Description of Problem. Even though it is more fragmented in comparison, it has the same dark filthy ambience that characterized the previous versions, and takes downright sonically evil turn at the end.

    The aesthetic Richard Chartier has developed as Pinkcourtesyphone may bear little resemblance to the serious, scholarly work that he issues under his own name, but it features the same level of compositional skill and complexity that sounds like no other.  The underlying theme of vintage camp and ennui results in an juxtaposition with the dark sexuality and hints of sleaze that permeate the album, resulting in a genius reality versus fantasy pairing befitting the 1950s housewife sensibility PCP has featured heavily in his albums thus far.

  • In the sublime darkness of ‘Description Of Problem’, Pinkcourtesyphone rouses itself from whatever reverie with the help of cameos from William Basinski, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Evelina Domnitch, AGF and Kid Congo Powers. Again, we’re returned to that noirish, narcotised ambient space which made ‘Foley Folly Folio’ a staunch fave around these parts (prompting a vinyl release on our Boomkat Editions label), and which deeply infected the proceeding collections, ‘Elegant & Detached’, and ‘A Ravishment Of Mirror’. According to the jacket, it was “formed from places, plastics, and particulars during 2010-2013 by Pinkcourtesyphone / Richard Chartier”, and drifts from the 16 minute title track embedded with a William Basinski voicemail, to ethereal ambient operatics in ‘I Wish You Goodbye’ with Evelina Domnitch, taking in 11 minutes of isolationist reflection in ‘Perfunctory Attachments’ alongside the sickly industro-ambient zones of ‘Our Story’ with AGF; the stark, eighteen minute pinnacle/abyss of ‘Boundlessly’ featuring a poignant reading by X-TG’s Cosey Fanni Tutti, supplemented by the darkest darkroomversion of ‘iamaphotograph’ with Kid Congo Powers. An iced tonic and small round chaser for the sanguine and disaffected listener.

  • The newest installment of Richard Chartier’s prolific cinematic drone project (its 5th CD since 2012) is loaded with guests, featuring contributions from William Basinski (via voicemail), AGF, Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle, Kid Congo Powers and Evelina Domnitch. “Description Of Problem / More Everything” invites comparisons to Basinski’s ownDisintegration Loops, as his voice is looped and decayed and disintegrated, over rolling melancholy melodic loops and hissing drone. Its second half features a voice repeating “maybe too much… I want more… everything”, beckoning revelatory events to take place. “Perfunctory Attachments” features no guests, but starts with echo-shrouded French speaking, and then an even more Disintegration Loops-like faded melody is looped. The voice seems to have stopped speaking and is only sighing, and you’re sitting up, concerned, wondering what’s going to happen. It seems like terror could strike at any moment. The storm of tensions seems to die down, but there’s still a buzzing drone and more looped sighing. Police sirens wail in the distance. The looped melody returns, but the notes become lower and sadder. It ends with a door closing and a “voila!” “Our Story” begins with AGF whispering about shadows and spells over soft pulses, which turn into a more abrasive rhythm. There’s a steady pulse, and some beats that shove and flange, but it still doesn’t feel like any sort of beat intended to make you move. But that’s beside the point. It sounds intriguing and makes you focus on the whisperings and the otherworldly sounds surrounding them. “Boundlessly” is nearly 20 minutes long, starting with a tiny, footstep-like beat and glistening, slightly metallic wind. Cosey’s voice slowly and boldly breaks through this, telling a striking tale of an abused woman. The words are deliberately spaced out and echoed a few times so they have a lasting impact. The line “or so it may seem” ominously repeat several times while fading out to some cricket-like chirping electronic sounds, which continue walking down the minimal footstep path, stopping when Cosey starts repeating the words “I love you boundlessly” for the remainder of the piece. Last year’s remix release Please Pick Up featured a few different takes on the Kid Congo Powers collaboration “iamaphotograph”, but this release’s “darkroomversion” is possibly the darkest and creepiest version yet. His voice is distorted in such a ghastly tone, there’s no other way to hear it as anything other than being spoken by a demonic ghost. The music is smothered and choked, but it still has a rhythm carrying the ghoulish words. The piece ends with the vocals sounding more hellish than ever, repeating “I am a photograph, but my soul is missing.” The album ends with a truly lovely, affecting song called “I Wish You Goodbye”, with Evelina Domnitch’s voice bidding us farewell in the beginning, and a looped synth melody that swells up more than anywhere else on the album. She returns at the end, wishing you shelter from the storm before saying goodbye, and a haunting cry of “goodnight”.

  • Description of Problem is Pinkcourtesyphone’s fifth full CD album, and though it is presented with the usual relativisation, it will probably haunt you and your dreams for a long time.

    The atmosphere is set by Chartier’s soundscapes (which are perfectly mastered by Stefan Betke, a.k.a. Pole). He (Richard Chartier) “monitors the call, offering the sounds of chiffon rustling, the buzzing void of messages never received, and the fey wonder of calculated desire and boredom.”

    But the list of vocal collaborators …  is what makes this album a definite classic.

    Spoken word and musings are contributed by no less than William Basinski, AGF (Antye Greie-Ripatti), Cosey Fanni Tutti (Chris & Cosey, Throbbing Gristle, CTI), Kid Congo Powers (Gun Club, Cramps, Bad Seeds), and Evelina Domnitch.

    At times, it’s as if the spirit of Nico hovers around (maybe partially due to the use of German language). From the very first minutes this album grabs you, and it doesn’t let go until it finished 68 minutes later, loosening its grip with the cinematic string pad chords of “I Wish You Goodbye”, with Evelina Domnitch.
    Still, the first thing that may come to mind after that is “I want more … everything … maybe too much”

  • Minimal big hitter Richard Chartier is back this week with another of his pinkcourtesyphone albums on his own LINE imprint. I guess this could broadly be described as his “fun” project where he steps away from his dryer and more cerebral side for some droney hallucinogenic texturescapes. On this latest one he focuses more on the phone side of his name than ever before, with almost every song featuring some sort of vocal guest appearance, beginning with voicemails from William Basinski but also including the likes of Cosey Fanni Tutti, AGF and Kid Congo Powers (you’d think he was the weirdest inclusion but he is in fact the only one who has already appeared on a previous pinkcourtesyphone album, trivia fans).

    Broadly speaking what’s happening here is a gently morphing fog of subtle textures and tones, distant echoing industrial clanks and ethereal musical touches, breathy twitches swathed in static, with varying uses of vocals. Basinski’s answer machine messages are looped and processed and buried deep in the cotton-wool-like sound pulp; Tutti does an eerie call-and-response with the echo of her own voice in a feverish tropical-industrial haze; Evelina Domnitch croons sweetly through a telephone while lush shimmering drone melodies hover above like memories of a string orchestra; Congo growls out a full-on Vincent Price-style style horror movie monologue with some heavy reverb and echo effects alongside some moodily gliding ambience – this one’s sort of like how I’d imagine a collaboration between Current 93 and Decimus would turn out, total nightmare fuel. If you’re into finely detailed hallucinogenic ambient times, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Two years ago, in 2012, Richard Chartier surprised the scene (and yours truly) with a marvelous record under a new moniker, Pinkcourtesyphone. And it wasn’t only the alias which Chartier dusted off from the many years prior, when he first used it as his DJ name back in mid 90s – it was also the sound. The haunting melodies appeared to be drenched in a crackle of 60s vogue, retro fantasy and glamorous din. It was very much unlike the Chartier we have come to expect – the peeled back minimalism of micro sound and ambiance that dominated his signature releases on his very own LINE label. The good news is that I very much loved it, and hoped that Chartier would deliver some more.

    Sine the Foley Folly Folio debut, Pinkcourtesyphone appeared on Room40, a label run by Lawrence English, with Elegant & Detached, followed by a collection of reworks from the first two records, titled Please Pick Up on the Canadian IO Sound. The third full length release, A Ravishment of Mirror, came out in February of 2014 on the freshly resurrected Dragon’s Eye Recordings, operated out of Los Angeles by Yann Novak (where Chartier has recently moved). The two musicians have for the first time collaborated back in 2013, on their Undefined release for Farmacia901, so it was a true pleasure to see Chartier appear on Novak’s label. This fourth record, titled Description of Problem, is back on Chartier’s LINE [SEGMENTS], and it’s immediately stronger, eerily potent, and dynamically effective, than all of the above combined.

    “I have always been fascinated by the mid 20th century. I am intrigued by the duality of that time: picture perfect lawns, ladies in taffeta dresses (while making meatloaf) and at the same time the suburban HORROR of it all. Isolation, neuralgia, boredom. A false dream of perfection… rotting and full of hideous (or perceived as hideous) secrets underneath.”

    The above quote was taken from HC’s Interview with Pinkcourtesyphone during which Chartier has also mentioned a few very special guest stars that would appear on Description of Problem. Well, he wasn’t bluffing. Tracks on the album include samples from a voicemail by William Basinski, vocals and lyrics by AGF, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Kid Congo Powers and Evelina Domnitch. This group of collaborators, join Pinkcourtesyphone’s “party line for obsession and revenge musings and ache all down the wires.” But it’s not only the above names that keep me returning to the record over and over again.

    Imagine a classy film-noir, all saturated in a pink haze, stuck on a cracked plastic reel, flashing on a loop with ghost sampled vocals, shown in a dark crumbling theater, slowly collapsing with aged fabric recliners, sticky with caramel, drowned in smoke, sweat and sex. Sinking into this man-made echo chamber of imagined future and forgotten past, the listener is faced with a crucial dilemma, hold on to the present or simply let go. Like an industrial-strength dose of an opiate, the world behind the slowly moving pink curtains of this soundtrack is anticonvulsant, hypnotic and dope. Sensual, intimate and seductive – this is a pill that I’d swallow again.

  • Chartier construye seis nuevas piezas que recuperan las imágenes oniricas de obras anteriores, esta vez adornadas con voces que terminan siendo absorbidas por esa atmósfera de sueño pesado y la letanía sombría. “Description Of Problem”, una obra de notas agotadas y arreglos desintegrados, el cansancio del ruido que se arrastra por el asfalto sucio con extrema elegancia. ‘Description Of Problem’ is a busier signal indeed. An unprecedented group of vocal collaborators join Pinkcourtesyphone’s party line for musings on obsession & revenge musings and ache all down the wires. Sound artist Richard Chartier monitors the call, offering the sounds of chiffon rustling, the buzzing void of messages never received, and the fey wonder of calculated desire and boredom. These songs are important to us. Please stay on the line…”. Lujo y miseria, estructuras de música que se desplaza con una movilidad apagada, generando piezas de romanticismo desgastado. Este trabajo ahonda en esa sonoridad que ya es a esta altura característica de Chartier, con sus diálogos robados y murmullos que se interponen en medio del lento avance de los minutos. El polvo se cruza con una conversación solitaria llorando palabras en alemán. “Hallo…?”. Un ritmo repetitivo se inmiscuye, el filtro roto que trae consigo rastros olvidados de dub urbano moderno. Y luego una voz fantasmal, casi un lamento, una voz distante, atravesando paredes desteñidas, cruzando habitaciones hasta llegar como un simple eco de una expresión que dejo de existir. Es William Basinski a través de la línea telefónica –“voicemail”– quien deja su huella sobre las melodías que se duplican hasta agotarse, hasta que ellas mismas se consumen por dentro dejando solo una estructura deformada. Es“Description Of Problem / More Everything”, el primer descenso hasta la sensualidad marchita de estas piezas de ambientes velados. Dieciséis minutos de repetición y belleza mustia, incluida ciertas reminiscencias a los soundscapes de Pole –el disco fue masterizado en Berlín por Stefan Betke—, dos rastros entrelazados que se trasladan con una lentitud agobiante. “Perfunctory Attachments”, otro largo ejercicios de ruido desvanecido, con esas notas que se pierden antes de completar su ciclo, y que continúan como un loop irregular. “Our Story” incorpora a la alemana AGF –“vocals, lyrics, processing”– y una rítmica inquietante al interior de la resonancia que se genera en estos espacios cerrados. La violencia subliminal finalmente cede a las armonías espectrales. La coalición entre ambas formas produce un fascinante encuentro. “Boundlessly (For M. Heyer)” se ubica en el centro de esta obra, teniendo como aparición estelar a Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle, Chris & Cosey, CTI), un viaje donde su voz envuelve de misterio y secreto encanto a los paisajes de Chartier. “I hate you because I love you… Don’t cry when I hurt you… She obeys and asks for forgiveness…”. El sonido es solo un acompañamiento para sus palabras, la imperturbable serenidad de su lírica reservada en delay. “Iamaphotograph (Darkroomversion)”, aquella versión de Amanda Lear con Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, The Cramps, The Bad Seeds) –“vocals, guitar, sample”–, ya fue presentada en varias fases anteriores. Esta nueva adaptación es todavía más hermética: el canto que son solo frases recitadas es un sonido más dentro de la nube estática. “I Wish You Goodbye” presenta a Evelina Domnitch –ella es también la modelo de la portada–, una pieza que recupera la (in)movilidad en una hermosa melodía que parece interpretada por una orquesta de fantasmas. “Pinkcourtesyphone strives to be both elegant and detached”. Pinkcourtesyphone construye una música que es igualmente misteriosa como lumínica, un brillo oscuro. “Description Of Problem”, “formed from places, plastics, and particulars during 2010-2013” persiste en las armonías que repiten hasta debilitarse, junto a voces que no son máa que eco de una presencia en la distancia. Los loops erosionados de Pinkcourtesyphone/Richard Chartier forman en esta obra sistemas de audio exhausto que se desplazan como electrónica apagada y acústica espectral.

  • Pinkcourtesyphone ist eine Inkarnation von Richard Chartier, der sich zu einem wichtigen Vertreter der minimalistisch-modernen elektronischen Musik gemausert hat. Für seine aktuelle Problembeschreibung konnte er interessante Gäste gewinnen: William Basinski, AGF, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Kid Congo Powers und die russische Künstlerin Evelina Domnitch wirken auf je einem der insgesamt 6 tracks mit. Mit schwebenden sounds, in die verzerrte deutsche Sprachsamples eingewebt wurden (“Hallo? – Ich könnte jetzt mit Ihnen reden”) beginnt die Tauchfahrt durch hallende Einzelereignisse, ruhig pulsierende Klangwellen, die sich an unidentifizierten samples brechen und extrem langsame crescendi aus sich auftürmenden SynthSounds. Dieser dunkle Ausflug in ein beatfreies Paralleluniversum dauert etwas länger als eine Stunde und man könnte in dieser Zeit ganz sicher wesentlich weniger Spannendes erleben!

  • Pinkcourtesyphone è il micromondo dove l’arte di Richard Chartier abbandona la costante ricerca sperimentale per abbracciare l’espressionismo. Un luogo dove il minimalismo assoluto, frutto di una sintesi sottrattiva portata a conseguenze sempre più estreme, cerca di fuoriuscire dal suo guscio, di contaminarsi, di trovare un contatto con forme espressive alternative e/o complementari. Sarà forse per questo che a risultarne sono i lavori più accessibili, emotivi, squisitamente ambientali e meno concettuali del suo percorso, all’interno dei quali una componente fissa è l’ingente numero di collaboratori chiamati a condividere l’esperienza creativa – fra i quali, stavolta, figurano almeno un paio di autentici monumenti viventi.

    Description Of Problem, il parto numero quattro del progetto e il secondo a condire il catalogo della divisone Segments di Line, raccoglie sei digressioni di durata mista che si concentrano sull’aspetto percettivo dell’arte di Chartier. La declinazione scelta qui è quella di un minimalismo ambientale che pesca in maniera cospicua dal Thomas Köner più organico, aprendo le proprie porte all’armonia, ma che rinuncia per scelta alla purezza contemplativa. Il fine ultimo e unico è infatti l’accrescimento della forza espressiva, raggiunto attraverso l’apertura a una moltitudine di linguaggi, alcuni dei quali estranei all’usuale tavolozza dell’americano.

    Primo di questi è indubbiamente il rumore brado, eretto a sostanza e “liberato” dal ruolo di corredo formale: prova lampante è in tal senso “Our Story”, viaggio in fuga dalla pece nera condiviso con l’amica AGF dove le vibrazioni arrivano a toccare con mano i muri dell’ultimo Ben Frost. Decisamente più oppressiva è invece la desolazione inscenata nella solitaria “Prefunctory Attachments”, unico vero episodio improntato su una sound art estetica. A rubare a quest’ultima lo scettro di climax claustrofobico è l’apocalisse cibernetica di “Iamaphotograph (Darkroomversion)”, recitata da nientemeno che Kid Congo Powers nel ruolo di “dittatore robotico”.

    L’apertura delle danze, invece, sembra riassumere questi elementi con il tradizionalismo ambientale che caratterizza il resto del disco: a fornire i suoi “haunting voicemails” è stavolta William Basinski, che decora un possibile outtake dal bellissimo “Aurora Liminalis” di due anni fa. Su un tenore simile si assestano anche la splendida estasi conclusiva di “Wish You Goodbye” – con Evelina Domnitch a sussurrare sulle armoniche – e, soprattutto, i diciotto minuti di immersione negli abissi di “Boundlessly”. Proprio qui, fra field recordings appena percettibili, scheletri dub, flussi silenziosi e il recital della regina dell’industrial Cosey Fanni Tutti, sta il cuore pulsante di questa riuscitissima evasione poliglotta.

  • Tous feux éteints,  ambient glabre, est-ce de l’allemand que j’entends dans le fond ? Diantre, cette collaboration Richard Chartier / William Basinski qui inaugure cette série de Pinkcourtesyphone featurings m’aura glacé les sangs avant de me baigner dans une ambient rose bonbon qui ne me va pas au teint…

    Heureusement, les collaborations se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas (si ce n’est qu’elles intègrent toutes la voix à l’ambient de Chartier). Avec AGF (Our Story) c’est quelque chose d’aussi irrémédiable que des piqures de machine à coudre et avec Cosey Fanni Tutti(Boundlessly) c’est un claustro-trip érotique qui vous fait chavirer net. Mais avec Kid Congo Powers (Iamaphotograph), la voix prend trop de place et avec Evelina Domnitch (I Wish You Goodbye) c’est le retour au diaphagnangnan. Pour faire pencher la balance en faveur de son CD, Chartier se colle tout seul à Perfectory Attachments en attachant une boucle de voix cinématographique à un crescendrone. Elève Chartier… 3,5/6. C’est-à-dire déjà plus que la moyenne!
    (le son du grizzli, France)