Consummate collaborator and modern minimalist, Richard Chartier return to his most active project with a lush new volume of Pinkcourtesyphone material received via Editions Mego after calls made to Boomkat Editions, Room40 and of course, his own LINE label.
Taking Into Account Only a Portion of Your Emotion shores us up on a lonely beach at the edge of a vast, atemporal ocean of internalised desire, riffing on familiar themes of elegant detachment and sub or unconscious sensation with a palette of diaphanous orchestration intent on setting the mind adrift in six glacial movements.
We can think of few other projects which have replicated or simulated the codeine or syrup-induced effect of prescription narcotics with such subtly seductive guile and patience; practically bubble wrapping your world and dimming the lights for you so that everything is couched in that reassuringly warm glow, and, yet conversely, the key to this project lies somewhere in the vast, cold space between the music’s distant, meridian timbre and the listener themselves.
The Pinkcourtesyphone project has released another album. Entitled, “Taking In To Account Only a Portion Of Your Emotions” – this project by Los Angeles-based sound artist, Richard Chartier, is very impressive.
Now to say how I arrived at that conclusion. Some people compare Pinkcourtesysphone’s output to The Caretaker, Angelo Badalamenti or William Basinski. For it is rooted in the deep, dark and mysterious wonderment of ethereal drone.
However, “Taking In To Account Only A Portion Of Your Emotions” is not dark at all. Yes, there are elements of the deep night, but there is a dawn on the horizon. With a deft touch of humour, this album is amorphous, changing and slippery. It heralds the moment between slumber and wakefulness – slipping in and out of consciousness yet remaining elegant and detached.
There are passages of speech that awaken the dreamer within. Yet the somnambulist charm of the electronic drones makes the whole affair a pleasant experience on the listener.
Do not expect to go to a nightclub after listening to this album. This is one for your camomile tea and slippers. Yet, it is so much more than that.
There is the impression that the album is trying to reach through the cosmic interference and have a conversation with you. Is this album a psychotic experience? Maybe. The recorded speech of a woman answering a dead phone line makes me want to reach out to the album. And, what a hug I get in response.
I think at some point in the near future Richard Chartier will be releasing new material under his own name again, but as of late his focus has been on his Pinkcourtesyphone project. There are similarities between the two monikers, but PCP tends to eschew the conceptual academics of his other work for the sake of tongue-in-cheek kitchiness, but still is an unabashed showcase for his subtle touch when it comes to performance and composition. Additionally, this new record shows him honing his craft even more, making for his most fully realized album to date.
While I assume the title of the record is meant to be somewhat facetious, Taking Into Account Only a Portion of Your Emotions is actually the record I have felt that conveys emotions the most compared to others in the PCP catalog. Of course this is is entirely relative to the nature of the project, and the aforementioned emotions seem tapered by Xanax and red wine, leaving the emotions conveyed defined in the loosest of senses.
For example, opener "New Domestic Landscape" brings a bit more of a dark side to the album, with its cavernous sonics and occasionally menacing electronic scrape. As a whole the piece is sparse in construction, but the occasional clattering passage and frequently shifting dynamics keep it active, which contrasts with my interpretation of the title as a commentary on the mundane life of the 1950s housewife. Heavy stabs of what could be choral samples pepper the otherwise lighter sounding "High End Smalls", but with the inclusion of slowly twinkling melodies and voices that appear at the end, the piece as a whole is more unsettling and disorienting than it would seem at first.
There is a more inviting mood that leads off "Reference Point Intermission 1", with its shimmering opening tones. The fragments of voice do give the piece a creepy edge, but as a whole it is a more comfortable piece, where sweeping passages of drama keep it fresh, but the hypnotic repetition that Chartier builds upon is still very captivating. The companion piece, "Reference Point Intermission 2" sits somewhere between the lighter and darker moments of the record, in a sustained humming drone suspended in gauzy passages of sound. It again sees Chartier going for a more repetitive structure, but the far off gurgling noise makes for a tasteful, diverse accent.
The album's high point, and one of the most powerful works Chartier has done ever, is the nearly 17 minute closer "Schlaflied (für PvK)". Composed as a memorial for one of his dearly loved cats, the sense of sadness pervades the entire work, more poignant and direct than before. Based upon a simple, sad melodic progression, he blends in a multitude of additional textures and tones carefully through the mix. A bit of crackle here, a heartbeat like passage there, it all comes together in a beautiful, yet very melancholy piece that is amongst the most fascinating he has ever done.
As a follow up to last year’s somewhat terse vinyl release Sentimental Something, Taking Into Account… is a more sprawling endeavor, with lengthier pieces that would not as easily have fit on a traditional vinyl record. But this is Richard Chartier, an artist who has never had a problem working with an extended canvas, and that is all the more explicitly clear here. There are definite highs and lows, frustration and sadness to be heard within the pink fog of this album, which just makes it all the more compelling to listen to.
These sounds are luscious and rich, but there is a sense that certain themes lie beneath the surface: detachment, darkness, dreams.
With a distinctly self-referential aesthetic, Pinkycourtesyphone (real name Richard Chartier) makes his debut on heavy hitting experimental label Editions Mego. All accompanying artwork for Chartier’s releases heavily feature shades of the colour pink, and this identity is only a fraction of his artistic output (he’s an accomplished multimedia artist who has exhibited worldwide). Taking into... is a collection of six long form electroacoustic pieces with a meditative approach to sound design. Highly recommended for all sound explorers and those with a penchant for deep listening! We’re no experts but it’s safe to say this LP is a lovely testament to the far-reaching influence of the late Pauline Oliveros.
There was a time, oh, back in 2012, when Richard Chartier‘s newly discovered project felt like a playful outlet for his experimental and minimal works, wrapped in a concept of an enigma, obscurity, and veil. But two years into the making and this thought-to-be one-off is taken more than seriously, picked up by the notable imprints, such as Room40, Important and Dragon’s Eye. [Editor’s note: the concept itself began back in 1997] In fact, during this past year, Chartier hasn’t even released any of the music under his real name, with the Interior Field (2013) being the last solo album, on his very own Line. With his eighth release under the guise of Pinkcourtesyphone, Chartier lands on Editions Mego, forever cementing the promise that this project is here to stay.
Taking into Account Only a Portion of Your Emotions is immediately recognizable with that special Pinkcourtesyphone trademark – from the veiled female voices to the drifting ambient pads to the background ringing of the telephone. “Hello? Hello? Is there someone there?” The silence on the other end of the wire hangs still, in a clouded shroud, bordering on the ghostly, spiritual, and the occult. This is the sensation that is particularly evoked within this album, like a rip in a fabric of space, transforming some daydream into an unlikely remembered past. Suddenly, this fabricated memory floats to the surface, and I am dancing in slow motion, in a backroom of a warehouse rave of the 90s, slowly dissolving in a pink fog of a smoke machine.
Pinkcourtesyphone is dark but not arch, with a slight hint of humor. Amorphous, changing, and slipping in and out of consciousness, operating like a syrupy dream and strives to be both elegant and detached. Please don’t hang up. This call is important. You’re coming with Pinkcourtesyphone… leave everything… it’s getting late.
There is a very special place in my heart for music that is poised yet polished. Like a deliberate painting of a winter meadow covered in a heavy mist of nearly crystallized water vapor, its sound descending on my mind and wrapping it into a mild stupor, slumber, and daze. The trance-inducing arpeggios hypnotizing my perception, confusing the sensors, in a synesthetic single-tone-colored spell. This feeling is particularly acute on my favorite track of the album, “Reference Point Intermission 2,” and once again, I am mesmerized, back in that flashback of a warehouse trip. Highly recommended for fans of everything Chartier touches, plus recent ambient noir-fi movement by the likes of The Caretaker, William Basinski, The Inward Circles, Black Swan, Thomas Köner, Lustmord and Stephan Mathieu.
BEST OF 2016: J’ai beau avoir une profonde admiration pour les travaux réductionnistes de Richard Chartier, quel que soit le millésime de ses travaux, je voue une dévotion constante à son intimiste moniker Pinkcourtesyphone. Celui-ci le confirme, et particulièrement brillamment. Cet opus est un effleurage délicat et en slow motion sur l’inconscient. Bien moins cher qu’une séance chez le psy, et autrement plus efficace.
It’s three in the morning, and from out of the blue your cell phone wakes up, its screen a too-bright luminescence and its silver body quivering in a technological convulsive fit. You have an incoming call from Pinkcourtesyphone, and this direct line runs from Los Angeles straight to your inner sanctuary. Sound artist Richard Chartier takes into account only a portion of your emotions, but it seems like nothing else is required.
The orgasmic opening of “New Domestic Landscape” retreats into a secluded cave made out of metallic air, composed of light taps, distant clinks and a thin pipe of a drone. The drone rotates, cycling 360 degrees at a slow pace. Passive dreams turn to slush, and this opens the door to a darker dream. The rectangular screen is the same shape as that doorway, and clawed fingers slowly creep out, holding onto the edge of the illuminated door. It’s the sound of an unanswered call, of one voice when it should be a two-way conversation. It puts you on edge, like a threatening phone call (minus the heavy breathing) made all the more frightening for its missing, absent voice. You’re not sure if there’s someone on the other end of the phone, listening. Is it a line test? Or was another void of static and silence ripped open at the very moment the handset was picked up? The receiver leads to another place.
Echoes help to shape a dark atmosphere, but it isn’t overwhelming or suffocating. Actually, the opening drones are airy and in the ascendancy. A dialing tone cuts into the fabric of the light, sedating drone like a pair of scissors, and then a dilated, questioning voice answers the call:
‘Hello? Hello? Is there someone there?‘
She’s young, stuck in the stringy gloop of time and completely unaware that she’s endlessly replaying a single event. The seconds seduce as the drone swells and steps away, swaying back and forth like a metronome without a corporeal body, not entirely relaxing a nervous body. The music has no intention of going too far down the dark rabbit hole. The later timbres appear to be reassuringly calm and kind, but there’s still a sinister underbelly, like a smiley-face emoji sent through an instant messenger app for no apparent reason.
There’s absolutely no need to worry. You’re going to be just fine. Trust me.
Except, that doesn’t help. The music chants these words like a mantra and it has the opposite effect, cramping up a mind that’s already churning. But this is a gentle hypnotherapy session, washed down with a magic, ghostly reverb. Touched by playful, lighthearted sections, the ambient music is a scented wave of romance, a nervy 7pm just before Saturday date night. The minimal sound design aids the music in creating a spacious, floating atmosphere, but while this is the case, the deep sounds swim in the same pool, occasionally converging and congealing. The unhurried tones later pass from room to room, from dream state to dream state, sharing the same space; languidly passing by. The music is still deep into the act of seduction. Pink lipstick brushes the side of amorphous notes, the close, cool breath blurring against the other revolving tones. Romance or lust, it doesn’t matter when the rainfall is a passionate downpour of wanted kisses, and who can stop them?
The phone is ringing…
pinkcourtesyphone = Valerio Tricoli + Steve Reich
Most ambient music focuses not on immediacy or readily perceptible structures. Rather, it focuses on the way small changes can dictate the motion and mood of a piece. The music of Richard Chartier is no exception, and this philosophy certainly holds true on the latest release from his pinkcourtesyphone alias. Chartier makes music that drags on almost monotonously, but he obsessively focuses on the space in between normal harmonies and rhythms. The music on taking into account only a portion of your emotions showcases this attention to detail and mostly comprises repetitive keyboard loops, which Chartier treats with all sorts of disorienting treatments. The key method here is emotional trickery. The music will often shift between the unsettling and the calming, hinting at certain moods but quickly withdrawing from them.
The album opens with “New Domestic Landscape,” the most spacious and subtle track here. After a startling sample of a pitch-shifted voice exclaiming, “Yes, yes, this … it’s wonderful,” the music plods along a series of staggered, unpredictable bits of sound. It sounds like heavy, harmonic rain drops, and over time, the music calms and fades into a light keyboard hum. The last minute of this track, however, is an alarming finish. A quiet sample of breaking glass and muffled arguing enters, giving the title of the track a discomforting new meaning. The track isn’t necessarily easy to listen to due to both its subject matter and musical content, but it’s both powerful and accomplished.
This opener sums up the rest of the record quite well: haunting, thought-provoking and unpredictable music. “High End Smalls” is founded on a pulsing and chromatic keyboard riff that repeats to a maddening extent. This rhythmic driving beginning lives in a constantly altering sense of time and place, and paying close attention to the composition here shows the level of complexity involved. The loops will often overlap themselves, stuttering around in the mix to the point of complete disorientation. A fantastic point in this cut comes when loud bits of static start to flit around, and over time, the noisy filter begins to dissolve, and the static reveals itself to be a warped sample of a once-pretty melody. Chartier appropriates happiness, using it as a foil to his otherwise ominous music, a darkness that always wins out.
The most emotionally affecting track here might be the closer, “Schlaflied (für PvK).” The title translates from German to “Sleeping Member,” and the dedication gives a gooey sentimentality to the music. Accordingly, the initial music is the most heartwarming on the whole record, featuring a loop of a longing and plaintive keyboard melody. As with the music earlier on the album, Chartier sends this clip through all sorts of distortions and rhythmic modulations, causing sense to slowly but surely fall away. Along with the alteration of the melody here, the track also confuses its intent of being a “Sleep Song” as it goes on. As the music’s end nears, a scraping sound slowly builds in the mix. This loop eventually dominates the others, sounding like the endless sharpening of a knife. If the beginning of “Sleep Song” was a lullaby-style meditation, the end is the childhood fears of monsters under the bed coming to life. To Richard Chartier, horror is the mode. All sense of relief is only fleeting and will eventually fall prey to a sulking gloom. Peace is, always, only temporary.
Mit seiner laut offiziellen Zählung achten Voll-CD Taking Into Account Only A Portion Of Your Emotions (Editions Mego) begibt sich Richard Chartier erneut in überwiegend tieftönendes Glitzerwerk. Doch während Kollegen vom Schlage eines Brian Williams (Lustmord) ihr Heil in astraler Kumulation suchen, findet Pinkcourtesyphone stets Gelegenheit, dem Sinn für nahezu unverblendete Anwandlungen von abstruser Schönheit, frivoler Physis und epikureischer Todesmissachtung Geltung zu verschaffen.
Man mag dem Mann aus Los Angeles seine Weigerung, auf die Bestellung von altbekanntem Terrain zu verzichten, zum Vorwurf machen. Doch der oft bemühte Schuh entsteht in diesem Sinne erst in der Belobigung einer Haltung, die sich gegenüber der Hybris des Experimentellen stets als immun erwiesen hat. Wohlig und vertraut zieht Taking Into Account Only A Portion Of Your Emotions seine Kreise. Und schämt sich seiner rosanern Brille nicht, mit der sich so manch abwegiges Verhältnis zwischen beklemmenden Ahnungen und bestürzendem Aha-Effekten röntgen lässt.
„Formed from places, plastics, and particulars 2014 – 2016“ wird hier – allen voran beim ironiesatt entschwebenden High End Smalls (als lichte Kreuzung aus Werkbund und Autopsia gedacht) – ein Panoptikum libidinös verseuchter Verheißungen stilisiert. Und dennoch eignet sich Taking Into Account Only A Portion Of Your Emotions weiterhin als Stimulanz für erklärtermaßen ungestörte Andachten, deren Gegenstände weit über der Gürtellinie verweilen. Doch aufgepasst: „Das Gebiet der Gewalt ist grenzenlos“ (Georges Bataille).
Richard Chartier to nie tylko szef wytwórni LINE, ale też artysta kryjący się pod nazwą Pinkcourtesyphone. Niebawem ukaże się nowa płyta jego różowego wcielenia.
Bardzo dobrze pamiętam debiutancki album Pinkcourtesyphone – „Foley Folly Folio” (2012). Od tamtego momentu Chartier zdążył opublikować jeszcze kilka innych interesujących wydawnictw – w tym dwa z Williamem Basinskim: „Aurora Liminalis” i „Divertissement”. W ubiegłym roku Pinkcourtesyphone zawitał do katalogu Important Records, gdzie ukazał się krążek „Sentimental Something”.
Najnowszy longplay nosi tytuł „Taking into Account only a Portion of Your Emotions”. Większość kompozycji, jakie pomieściła ta płyta, to dłuższe formy trwające powyżej dziesięciu minut. Wydawca umiejscawia muzykę Pinkcourtesyphone w pobliżu The Caretaker, Angelo Badalamentiego czy Williama Basinskiego. Trudno się z tym nie zgodzić.
Należy zaznaczyć, że twórczość Chartiera jest głęboko zakorzeniona w ambiencie – i to takim organicznym w stylu Taylora Deupree. Żeby nie być gołosłownym, polecam wsłuchać się w piękny fragment „Schlaflied (für PvK)”. Zachwycił mnie też swoją delikatnością i zmysłowością utwór „Reference Point Intermission 1”, utrzymany blisko estetyki Basinskiego. „Horizontal Format (for D. Marti)” z kolei przypomina ma arktyczny i mroźny, choć skąpany w eterycznych promieniach różowego słońca, ambient Loscila oraz Biosphere’a.
„Taking into Account only a Portion of Your Emotions” to bardzo ciekawa opowieść, wyróżniająca się spośród wielu miałkich ambientowych wydawnictw.