Rainbow Valley/Wind In Willows & Celer/Hakobune :: Double Review (Chemical Tapes)

UK-Spain tape traffickers Chemical Tapes specialize in matters pertaining to psycho-active phenethylamine chemical derivatives, notably psychedelics and/or empathogen-entactogens, audio-mediated via limited edition ambient / drone / synth product. Rob Gibson is the main man, dealing with artists and promotion, while a Spain-based mystery Mister handles design, site maintenance, keeping the tech ticking over. Established in March 2011 with an initial trio from Machinefabriek, Maps & Diagrams and Indian Weapons, they followed up with various esoteric prescriptions, including Tidal and Atlantis. Below are appraisals of two pairings doing the splits in a double dose of mind-altering audio narcosis fresh out of CT labs.

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Split, snappily subtitled 2C-C (2,5-dimethoxy-4-chlorophenethylamine), is a UK-Russian affair, Rainbow Valley and Wind In Willows complementing one another’s envisionings in two sides of ‘emotive synthesiser landscapes.’  Split this may be, but in name only, as their twin trajectories converge from very different parts of the world; young instrumentalist Anton Filatov brings Wind In Willows from the woods of Karelia in Russia, while Graham Boosey’s Rainbow Valley comes out of the beachy suburbia of Southend-on-Sea. An unlikely site of communion for cosmic ambience perhaps, though the artefacts of 70s synth pioneers Tangerine Dream – or 2nd  or 3rd generation replicas thereof – provide an obvious departure point. Theirs are similar, therapeutically designated, soothing, yet intense, dronings, differentiated in the lo-fi graininess of WIW’s saturated washes, bright reverb and delay drapings, while RV is more content to let his synths swell and sustain in chronostatic majesty on “Main Sequence” and on the gauzily expansive “Kailash.” The suggestive strains of WIW’s “Meteoric Hailstorm” are possessed of a serenity that belies their intensity, while his “Startide Whisper” is a quivering lava lamp of pacific psychedelic audio waves modulating into infinity. Amid a profusion of New/Nu/No-Age synth workouts these two spool out some of the most winsome and immersive of Kosmische drone rituals.

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Vain Shapes and Intricate Parapets, or HOT-2 (2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylthio-N-hydroxyphenethylamine), finds Chemical Rob matchmaking Celer and Hakobune, two of the most prolific and precious audio-spatial fragrance purveyors renowned for the emotional resonance of their drone and space musicking, for a marriage made in ambient heaven. Will Long and Takahiro Yorifuji are conjoined on a 2-track tape designated ‘for deep thought, reflection and longing.’ As drones go, and these are some of the most studiedly gone, “Merges Of Hysterical Exhilaration” is all weightless low-mid range silken and gentle consonance with slight variations in harmonic turn and texture throughout. “Complete Possession Of Full Temerity” reveals more timbral diversity, going from restraint to a fibrillant rapture of metals, while sustaining a serene mien. From measured low to high-mid frequencies, it gets (us) high later on, even flirting with an unwonted asperity of near-feedback resonances, increasingly engulfing, tonal shifts subtle yet effective, dissolving towards fade-out in light and luminous vapours. The two side-long pieces elide seamlessly, inbetweens dissolving, celestial-inclined dreamscenes of melodic abstraction solicitously sculpted a less weary world away from the software (worn) solutions of all too many New Now Voyagers of Ambient.

Overall, these latest distillations from Chemical Tapes exude character and humanity from their well-crafted compositions curated by artists attuned to the music of the spheres channeled by pioneers from Berlin to the Blessed Brian.

Both releases are available on Chemical Tapes [2C-C | HOT-2]


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