Boomkat Product Review:
Spellbinding, allusively spirited experiments in contemporary American music from Raven Chacon, fittingly presented in beautiful packaging by Ouidah, the sublabel of Die Schachtel’s Blume - big RIYL everyone from Chris Watson to Harley Gaber, Deathprod to Lynch’s Twin Peaks
A record that defies easy description, ‘An Anthology Of Chants Operations’ surveys 10 years of work by Chacon in bridging the disciplines of chamber music, noise, site specific installation, and performance - both solo and with Postcommodity collective - following his studies under legendary 20th century composers James Tenney, Morton Subotnick, Michael Pisaro, and Leo Wadada Smith at CalArts. Vitally, it sees Raven dwell on his roots in Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation, Arizona and his current home in New Mexico in a deeply elemental way, reflecting the environment and a deeply elusive sense of humanity thru a masterfully evocative manipulation of abstract forms.
The record’s first half is bookended with two piece that epitomise his haunting approach; he has us instantly rapt with an ear-ringing recording of his Aeolian sculpture installation, evoking alien and ancient beings in ‘Singing Toward the Wind / Singing Toward the Sun Now’, along with the beguilingly self-evident psychedelia of ’Study For Human-made Bird Calls And Microphone Out A Moving Car Window’, whereas the B-side speaks more directly to his grasp of folk and chamber musics in ‘MSRC’ making striking use of organ and Marc Sabat’s keening microtonal Viola pitches in a way recalling Harley Gaber’s ‘Winds Rise In The North’, and then sending us into a total desert trance state with the windswept recordings of a bonfire in ‘Pinefires’ that sounds amazing accompanied by the storm that’s outside our window right now.