Across 8 concise vignettes, Chantal Michelle alchemizes acoustic instrumentation with a spectrum of layered feedback and field sounds, depicting fractured beauty amongst a precarious reality.
Chantal’s work is characterized by intoxicating juxtaposition and enriched with an array of source material to construct immersive narrative. Much of the work here was recorded during her time in New York City, perhaps a pre-requisite to the heightened tension at play.
Opening with lucid choral vocals, a mysteriously seductive anaesthesia disseminates before evaporating into surging feedback, vocals dissolving as quickly as they appeared.
It’s this oscillation between states that permeates throughout the work. Whether it’s the esoteric rumbling of acoustic drones, or the radiant fusion of distorted chords amongst the warming sounds of tropical atmospheres, moments of serenity are conjured up in a space so bliss that their endings incite an immediate nostalgia. Fleeting melodies are pierced by shattering cries of feedback; gossamer tones engulfed in saturated noise.
Amongst the instrumentation, buzzing field sounds tremor with hyperreal peculiarity and hallucinations shape noise into sounds of the familiar; the rumbling of an overheard aeroplane or the whirring of distant grasshoppers. Similarly, recurring motifs elicit a false sense of security in their subliminal familiarity, soon exposed as echoes, a reverberation of what was left behind.
At the approaching climax, the blissful onset anaesthesia has worn off, interrupted by a powerful chorus of deep, gothic synthesis that fuels post-apocalyptic fever dreams, an unnerving and mesmerising symphony. The unresolved tension leaves us in a state of delirium, questioning if the tranquillity we experienced was ever really there.
Chantal was immersed in Fleur Jaeggy’s ‘The Water Statues’ whilst recording, and its imprint is woven into the sonic fabric of ‘Broken to Echoes’; a sublime liminal dream-state, pervaded by haunting visions. It’s a view of the world captured from inside the enclosure of a cell membrane. Through translucent mesh, we see the billowing tension of our surroundings, protected only by the most delicate walls.