Wednesday, April 22, 2015

“CJ-1” C41
(Drawing Room Records)

I bet Chuck Johnson is probably pretty used to people listening to his records and asking aloud “Now, how in the hell is just one man and one instrument making all those sounds at once?” A veteran of American Primitive guitarstyle, his relationship with exploring shifting minimalist textures, timbres, and overtones (not to mention his being in good company of so many a Mills College noise-worshipper) has led to a pretty engaging study in these here Digital Signal Processings. 

No one in their right mind would call this entire collection “pleasant” and only a few more might get away with labeling it capital-M “Music”, though the dynamics, movement, and attention to detail are all easily parallel to classical works. This is not necessarily more dissonant, but far more minimal, more subtle.  Think Eliane Radigue with a shorter attention span.

The collection demands a partnership built with it, and, like any partnership, you get out of it what you put into it. Great for guided painting or drawing or closing your eyes and anthropomorphizing the treble and bass interacting, with concentrated panning composition adding a whole new layer, when wearing headphones. Not good for driving or waiting around while heavily caffeinated. Also not recommended is a cursory skimming of the track to ‘just get an idea’ cz you likely won’t. If you don’t buy this, steal it from a friend or occupy their dark closet while listening on your Walkman.


- - Jacob An Kittenplan