Boomkat Product Review:
Following releases on Quiet Time and Dinzu Artefacts, Chantal Michelle arrives on Warm Winters with a tranquil set of unsettling, piano-led ambience, made in collaboration with Mexican instrumentalist and improviser Germán Bringas.
Michelle leads us into '66 Rue L' cautiously, offering dampened piano and faint, jazzy woodwind on the brief opener 'Line of Drift'. It sets a dreamlike tone that just about readies us for '66 Rue L (pt. I)', opening with noisy, chaotic field recordings and horn blasts. Chunky, metallic percussion mimics train sounds and electrical wiring, and the scene is set: a widescreen, greyscale dreamworld decorated with patient piano motifs. But despite the piano being the root of the composition, it's not always the focus; the instrument feels as if it's there somewhere, often drowned out by windy squeals and resonant echoes. Midway through, all surrounding distractions comes to a standstill and we get to hear Michelle's piano playing in all its glory.
The second lengthy part picks up where the first left off, with rainfall and more lively playing from Michelle gradually met with resonant drones that seem to materialise from nowhere. As her performance gets more spirited, the additional elements fall away completely and reverb takes their place, giving the sense we're listening in from another room.
Soft and slow like sinking into upholstery, Michelle's serene motifs are melancholy and suggestive, her field recordings building out the narrative without being completely recognisable. It's a soundworld made for getting lost in, and will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Deaf Center, Angelo Badalementi or CV & JAB.