Former Australian now London based musician John Chantler offers his second solo LP for Room40 ‘The Luminous Ground’ - his first solo outing in over seven years.
‘The Luminous Ground’ is just that - luminous. A pulsing and glimmering collision of oscillated tone, filtered texture and syncopated rhythm. It’s a record of densely joyous, hazily psychedelic, modular synthesis. A playful yet throughly composed exploration into the possibilities of patching.
Having gradually acquired a highly personalised modular set-up over the past 3 years, Chantler’s calculated experiments and adventurous patching techniques are brought to bear on this recording. Interested not only in the sound generation possibilities of the instrument, but also its abilities to auto-generate sound, Chantler coerces his instrument into all manner of self generation and feedback.
Inspired by the writings of Christopher Alexander, Chantler extrapolates Alexander’s ideas and develops a series of works based on the processes of creating something that has 'life', even if its made by machines. For Alexander, remarkable architecture has a sense of something profoundly human about it. In the same way, Chantler has created an album with that same sense by using the synthesizer in way that gives it life.
At its most intense The Luminous Ground is a visceral and sonically tactile experience - low bass gusts pounding underneath a flurry of melodious tonal clusters. At its most sparse the record hints at more pastoral (albeit electronically generated) sentiments - but at no point does the record’s movements stray. There’s a clear sense of trajectory here and Chantler rides it with an expert sensibility.
An omnivorous recording artist/musician, Chantler started out as a drummer and still keeps loose time for Outshine Family (Black Maps) and occasionally The Balky Mule (Fat Cat). He also convenes the Organ Octet - a massed organ ensemble of eight reed/chord organs and plays synth in a trio with Tujiko Noriko and Lawrence English and as Holy Family - a duo with Lawrence English. A former Japanese resident he maintains a close association with musicians there and has played drums and/or electronics for Tenniscoats and Maher Shalal Hash Baz.