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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Chattermark - Chattermark (Drollehålå, 2022)

By Stef Gijssels

We're always open for new names and new approaches. If you're too, I suggest you listen to this album. 

Chattermark are Norwegian musicians - and wife and husband - Gunhild Seim on trumpet and John Ilja on electric bass. Both use effects, and massively. The trumpet has a recognisable sound on most tracks, but the bass is so heavily distorted and played with extended techniques that it can barely be identified as such. 

We have only one review on Norwegian trumpeter Gunhild Seim in our review catalogue, for her more modern jazz ensemble "Time Jungle" from 2009 (by the way, it's interesting to notice how either my ignorance on female trumpeters has decreased over the years, or that so many interesting female trumpeters have come forward)

This album is of a totally different nature, with Lilja creating huge noise and drone-like sonic landscapes that give Seim the opportunity to add her deeply moving playing. The total effect is one of desolation, doom and despair. The sound of the horn resonates, full of reverb, against the relentless and constantly shifting wall of sound. The duo gives as references the metal and dark ambient band Sunn 0))), composer and electronics innovator Anthony Pateras and Austrian trumpeter Franz Hautzinger, whom we know best of the three. 

Chattermark started in 2016, as part of Seim's "Duo Projects", improvisations with selected other individuals, as a kind of manifestation of Hegel's philosophy of "The Other", combined with the zen-like effect of being 'in the moment'. "Part of my duos project is trying to get to know new people, but it is also about playing with people I already know well. When you think of it also as communication with “the other”, duos of any kind (ranging from me playing with my hubby to someone really different for instance different art form, background or skill) can be interesting. How do you REALLY listen and respond to the other person? And is the level of listening in any way traceable, is it for instance audible or visible? Or will it make a lasting imprint in other ways?" she writes on her blog. 

The result of the duo with Ilja is astonishing and relatively unique, both creating a universe of terror and despair. Ilja's sound is so urban, industrial and violent, that it becomes uncanny in the end. Seim either tries to escape from this massive darkness with a few bright lines of light, but every so often her screams and howls on the trumpet intensify the feeling of being trapped forever, a deep and deranged sound of being held captive with no chance of redemption. 

Both musicians present a very daring, courageous and shocking piece of new music, visionary and coherent, and an incredible listening experience. 

Watch and listen to "Mycelium": 


flamwin said...

Listen and download from Bandcamp:

Richard said...

Really liking this on first listen. Yet another album I would never have heard of, if not for FJC. Thanks Stef.