Ben Chatwin

Chatwin’s last album was full of murky textures, noise beds and ambient float that felt like it was deteriorating as the album progressed. His follow-up keeps the textural fortitude but moves into an area of tension between the natural world and processed sound. At the heart of Heat & Entropy is Chatwin’s reliance on strings off all types, from piano to guitar to dulcitone. He set out to only use forms of stringed instruments but began to process the sounds and fold his love of texture into the mix. As a result he’s found a headspace that falls down the line between Hauschka’s prepared piano eminence and Evan Caminiti’s dust cloud psych. There’s a dark glow about the album, murky and fitting of the album’s reliance on seascapes in artwork and video treatments. Its balancing a feeling of weightless float and the crush of 60,000 gallons from the listener to the surface.

The further on the album progresses the further away that last breath feels, but the surroundings grow more foreign and beautiful. Centerpiece, “The Kraken,” finds the breaking point, emerging from a clouded gust on the preceding track and opening up a beacon-steady beat with siren-like vocals ducking and weaving the repetitive phrases. “Euclidiean Plane” is a whalesong trapped in amber and there’s no easy feeling about ending on a note called “Corpseways.” Chatwin has elevated his ambitions, stepping further from the Talvihorros work he’d done previously to create an album that’s both decidedly post-classical in its execution and experimental in its impact. This is a claustrophobic, anxious and ultimately also serene album in its own right; as contradictory as that may be. It feels like knowing the end is coming and having the strength to let go.


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