John Chantler – The Luminous Ground

Invigorating and challenging stuff, and a real shame it’s all too short.

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A truly inspiring record, not easy, and at times you can feel like you are in a headlock with a wall of sound, but it’s worth it. It does kick up a racket from the off: on the opener, Untitled # 1 the listener is plunged headfirst into a whirlpool of fluctuating tones alien noises and thick, gloopy sonic patterns. And regardless of any change in tone or mood between tracks, the idea of aurally gate-crashing a knees up for aliens or various kitchen appliances is the overriding feeling you get, and you have to get used to it pretty darned quickly.


The mantra element, (namely using a set of tonal variations on chord), does bring to mind Terry Riley and John Cale, but only fleetingly as The Luminous Ground is more of a messy, organic creation than Church of Anthrax or anything by the Dream Academy. There’s a suspicion in my mind that he’s trying to fuse a sonic template that references spazzcore with the kind of incidental music knocked out by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. There are a number of quiet tracks on here that break up the barrage very effectively. Some bits are naturally beautiful spirals (Untitled # 3) or stumbling essays in piecing together various blurps and squiggles (Untitled #6).

 

Invigorating and challenging stuff, and a real shame it’s all too short.