Even Clean Hands Damage The Work is the new LP from UK based artist John Chantler. Following on from The Luminous Ground, his critically acclaimed album from 2011, Even Clean Hands Damage The Work sees Chantler delve ever deeper into the inner zones of audible electricity. Like its predecessor, this is an album generous in texture and dimension, but moreover it is a record of incendiary dynamic force; shifting and arcing with a relentless ferocity.
Recorded across a range of studios including Stockholm’s hallowed EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) using their classic Buchla 200 and Serge systems, the album’s composition bares the marks of over two years of refinement. At times intensely fierce and brutal in its sonic character, Even Clean Hands Damage The Work is at its heart an expression of the power of dynamics. The LP throws huge blocks of massed harmonics into suspension, sometimes smearing them into distorted half phrases and twisted variations through spectral and time domain processing. At other times it freezes them in a way that appears to deconstruct time without ever being overtly rhythmic. The pieces slow down to rest around beds of beating tones and difference frequencies that affect a tripping, acceleration via momentary interventions. It also relies less on recognisable melodic motifs and though they’re hidden across the record’s duration Even Clean Hands Damage The Work is more readily characterised by variations of timbre and apparent repetition.
The five discrete movements of the LP are compiled as two continuous side-long suites, each one constantly straining to find moments of balance between an uneasy sea of swarming, voltage controlled electronics.