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richard chartier - Transparency (Performance)
A master of extreme digital minimalism, Richard Chartier wields silence like a sledgehammer; in his patiently wrought compositions the weight of what's not there is alone enough to pulverise you. His spotless CV takes in installations at innumerable prestigious galleries around the world and collaborations with the likes of William Basinski and Taylor Deupree, and a lifetime of experience informs his latest. This captivating live performance was inspired by, and deploys recordings of, the Grand Tonometer, a set of 670 tuning forks created in the 19th century by the German physicist Rudolf Konig (it’s the only instrument of its kind in existence). The pitches of the forks extend over four octaves, pushing through the limits of human perception, supposedly allowing the listener a chance to glimpse the nature of sound itself. Adding sounds sourced from other large tuning forks, metal and wooden resonators, and wood organ pipes by Koenig and his contemporaries, Chartier’s recording collapses the acoustic/digital boundary and turns hard science into engrossing art. Apparently Koenig’s original demonstrations of the Grand Tonometer were billed as séances, and Line invites us to treat Transparency as “a sound séance for the digital age”. Chartier really f*cks with your senses, his tonal arrangements coaxing an almost occult force out of geometric rigour. Fans of everything from Ryoji Ikeda to Sun Electric pay attention.