Something You Are Or Something You Do
The Tapeworm, UK (TTW#95)
April 10, 2017

Edition #1 – cassette only – limited edition of 100 copies
Edition #2 – cassette only – pink shell, limited edition of 50 copies
exclusive digital download.

A: But It Felt / In Other Dreams (14:12)
B: She Who Controls (15:00)

Formed from plastics and particulars by Richard Chartier, 2015
“I am lonely, yet I feel wonderful…”


Richard Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone pores vent another absorbing example of pharmaceutically affective ambient music from his louche, and now quite regular avatar. It’s the kinda music you might expect the ladies of Deux Filles to make once they had married into old Californian money and are now living out their autumn years gracefully, sequestered in the hills of LA in a dosed-up Lynchian fantasy. Intoxicating stuff.


Sound artist Richard Chartier’s polarising and parallel running project Pinkcourtesyphone takes his minimal, distant and abstracted drones to an emotionally and musically elevated level, over bearing but still remain incredibly minimal. Mechanical drones meets micro tonal harmony.


Another killer new release from The Tapeworm, this time a limited tape from Los Angeles based sound artist Richard Chartier. This one should hopefully attract interest from those of you who’ve been enjoying Cosey Fanni Tutti’s Art Sex Music book, given that her and Chartier have worked together collaboratively in the past. Despite running in prestigious art circles, Pinkcourtesyphone’s work is at once both playful and engaging, operating like a ‘syrup-y dream’ and striving ‘to be both elegant and detached’. Great experimental fare from a Mego, LINE and Room40 veteran!


Something You Are Or Something You Do, the latest Pinkcourtesyphone release, seems like a proper fit for the cassette format.  For a project so tinged with vintage imagery, the medium is perfect.  The analog imperfections of the tape work as well, as the gentle hiss adds to the barbiturate haze in its own way, but would have been entirely distracting for Removed.  Right at the start "But it Felt/In Other Dreams" is far more commanding:  a hazy, almost spacy wall of sound extending out with just the right amount of rumble to it.  Despite some shimmering passages that shine through, it is a rather bleak and haunting bit of music, amongst the darkest in the PCP catalog.

The other side of the tape, "She Who Controls" is cut from a similar cloth, but has a greater density and sense of texture to it.  The errant crackle gives a nice depth to the frigid roar that surrounds it.  Compared to what preceded it, there is less change and more sustained, cavernous like dynamics to the piece.  Structurally it is as stripped down as Chartier’s work on Removed, but with more demanding, forceful sounds.  The ending is perhaps the most striking part of the composition, however, with a quick transition to lightness and bell-like tones that are far less oppressive than what preceded it.

On the surface, Richard Chartier's solo work and Pinkcourtesyphone may seem quite alike:  both are projects of lengthy compositions, often kept at rather quiet volumes, and comprised of sparse, electronic tones and textures.  Listening to them back to back, however, the distinction is very clear.  Removed comes from more of a sound art background:  classically minimalist with staunch attention to detail and structure.  It is clinical, but not cold or inhuman in its character.  Comparatively, Something You Are feels less rigid, yet there is a malignance in its enchanting ennui.  It feels structurally looser, and a greater sense of rawness due to the more dissonant sounds Chartier is working with.  But what it comes down to is that the two sides of this one brilliant artist’s work compliment each other perfectly, and both are essential listening, in my opinion.