Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rambutan / Chapels - Split (House of Alchemy CS)

Here's a tape that Eric Hardiman gave me a ways back from House of Alchemy. The release is a split between his solo project, Rambutan, and label head Adam Richards solo work as Chapels. Two solo sides indeed, but the singular aesthetic of both of these guys means that the tape is far more effective as a whole than the usual side project split might be. Though neither of these are your average side project whatsoever.

The first side is Rambutan's, and Eric presents a side-long track called "City of Immortals." Using mainly guitar, Eric has a knack for weaving a special blend of creepy with enough textural dexterity for something truly impressive to be made. Here it starts off from one little cell of humming before turning into a subdued screech with a babbling underbelly. When his guitar enters however, distant at first and increasingly close, it gives a hint of softness to the blizzard occurring in the foreground. A very beautiful din indeed, and one whose contrasting parts are adeptly managed in the name of the music rather than the ego. While the guitar maneuvers in the back are quite lovely and surely enjoyable for Hardiman to play, the harsh foreground is always kept up so as to maintain a dialogue rather than hold a lecture. Quite lovely, and one of the more singular statements I've heard from Rambutan of late. Which is saying something for sure.

The flip side presents Chapels' "It May Have Been August," whose initial loop of bird cacophony is met with a clicking rhythm and gentle lilting synth tone. Chapels has been a real revelation for me lately, and every time out it's a joy to hear what Richards comes up with. This round is actually a bit more subdued than is usually the case, as a soft underside washes delicately beneath the constant blown-out top side. It's a wonderful partner to Hardiman's side, as both do a fine job of balancing the delicate with the dangerous, the dainty with the damned. Pretty fried stuff here, that clatters about in some very strange atmospheres that nevertheless hold their own as an entirety, moving logically about as it wades toward increasingly frigid waters. Lovely.

This time out, the tape is out of print and not available from the label, but I'm sure people have it out there somewhere. Limited to 44 so it may be tough to track down, but it's well worth the old college try, especially if you've never heard either of these acts. Really great introduction to both but, more than that, a fine example of the potential that split releases have, especially when the material is as strong as it is here. Both pieces reveal something about the other, and really you can't ask for much more than that with a split. Killer.

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