August 3, 2012

The Baroque Atrium

Panabrite is Seattle electronc composer Norm Chambers, a gentleman whose meditative synth stylings first penetrated my tightly-girded brain this spring with Soft Terminal, a gorgeous release on Digitalis Industries that seemed to perfectly describe the "liquid dream" that serves as medium for his melodic, koshmische influenced soundscapes. Chambers' website has a "bio" section written by fellow electronic musician Keith Fullerton-Whitman who describes him as occupying a "hazy, analog-synth-laden zone between kosmische drift and new age waft". Since Soft Terminal's release in March, the emotional palette that seems vaguely expressed throughout all of his music has varied across a quick succession of three further releases this year, capped off until this July by Sub-Aquatic Meditation, a water-themed collection on Aguirre Records that sounds exactly as advertised. His output continues with The Baroque Atrium, an equally "themed" collection that's apparently Chambers is more or less copping to as his honest-to-God "sophomore album", ending a string of more ambiguous releases that were less deliberately framed in relation to a larger personal history. Water in its more airy form remains a presence in The Baroque Atrium; track titles reference humidity and two intensely scenic Mediterranean islands, opening with precocious synths and sampled bird song on track 1, "Humid Transmissions". A sense of passage and transition is their equal companion, first manifest in "Humid Transmissions" then "Interfrequencies", "Departing", and "Infinite Passage", all sounding a little like his more familiar synth excursions. More than a third of the album is given over to the seventeen minute long "Suite (for Winnie and Roxy)" which, despite the name being a little harder to categorize in all this, is certainly its longest highlight, full of delicately structured swells and the movement of hinging soundscapes. "Infinite Passage" seems to reinforce one element of Chambers' personal orientation: production and creation. It ends the album on an almost poignant note of departure in the shade of its pitch perfect constructs, though it also seems to invite an ongoing experience of further works. Like The Baroque Atrium, they will build further onto a long sequence of wonders.

Stream: Panabrite - Spetses

The Baroque Atrium is available in an edition of 300 CDs via Preservation Records.

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