INTERVIEW: RICHARD CHARTIER: MUTEK (2001)
LOWERCASE SOUND PAINTING - LISTEN CAREFULLY
S. Arden Hill
beautifully intertwined is the spaces between sounds, between events. in the inbetween of sounds and events richard chartier composes tiny particles of near inaudible sound into delicate arrangement. clicks, plics, bits and bursts of micro-static are some of the detail you find dissolving in arrangement intimately into your ear while listening to one of his 4 full length discs. working with a minimal, and hushed abstract form of electro-acoustic/music concrete, chartier's work begets in the listening an hyper-attention to the detail, or the blueprint of sound. having many years of painting, and work in visual design influencing his aesthetic choices, chartier's perspective of detail altering his production develops him among other such lowercase composers as bernhard gunter, jio shimuzu, immedia and *0. using length of composition as a tool, as well as such sound characters as high/low frequencies, DSP processing and an understanding of movement richard chartier is easily one of today's most interesting composers.
"minimal", "subtly", "nuance", "repetition" and "dealing with structures" are only a few of the language descriptors that apply to chartier's sound. but composing beyond the reference of language and the reference of physical sound, is important to this Washington, DC composer and painter. in an attempt to remove the more recognizable elements of the sound from his compositions, through a process of stepping and speeding up the sounds, time stretching and condensing, and clipping the levels chartier exposes a composition of hidden frequencies and microscopic design. what you hear as "glassy" digitalia in his compositions, is an acute sensitivity of his surroundings. the sounds elements could be physical sounds such as a car driving by, a door slamming.... or digital noise and sine waves but modulated too such a level of abstraction that only their impression, their lingering essence remains. chartier recounted for me a story of his childhood listening and memorizing the pitches of house hold electronic devices such as an electric can opener, their air conditioner and the refrigerator. sounds that we may have never listened to in our daily environment. listenings that have been very influential to his work. this typeof listening is important to chartier's work-"listen carefully"
chartier is among others, friends and composers inspired by this new genre, working in what could be called microwave, or ultra-minimalist music. his compositions could be banked against the work of bernhard gunter, francisco lopez and immeda for their attention requirement, but chartier is alone in his creativity. while getting more and more quieter, economic and abstract with every work the more creatively audacious he and his work is becoming. within the 3 years of chartier becoming public with his sound, he has already earned a repertoire of attractive reviews from such notable sources as the wire, vital weekly, head and urban sounds. i think it is the fact that rarely ever does chartier's music not leave an impression on the listener, whether it is the physical itchiness around the eardrum from his quiet high frequencies, or the disorientation of listening from the 3D sound movement. the listener knows what he is listening to is a chartier composition. a unique attribute to have, considering a lot of sound these days. recent work includes ,typeof', a contribution to the invalidObject series published by ireland's fallt publishing, ,series' a new full length on -line, a sister label to 12k, a 2nd collaboration with nosei sakata-*0, spec w/ taylor deupree, soon something with steve roden/in be tween noise and in 2001 chartier will be releasing a disc on bernhard gunter's cd label trente oiseaux. chartier presented his audio work this past summer in montreal for MUTEK.