Boomkat Product Review:
Dan Abrams' third Shuttle358 album is a smudgy, horizontal collection of frothy laptop tones and carefully placed rhythmic glitches that's like SND making dub techno with Wolfgang Voigt, or Eno armed with a sampler and a bitcrusher.
Abrams' first two albums still stand as genre-defining classics. With 1999's "Optimal" and 2000's acclaimed "Frame" he asserted himself as one of the burgeoning microsound movement's grandmasters, and on "Chessa" he takes a victory lap. It's more placid than its predecessors, influenced by photography and space and allowing its richly processed loops to cook and transform slowly until they're fully embedded in the mind. The music is not quite ambient, but it takes cues from Eno's time-dilating "Music For Airports" and "On Land". Where Abrams veers left is in his digital treatments, where he chips away at viscous sounds with computer techniques that, when the music was released, were still relatively unheard. And while granular process are far more familiar in 2021, Abram's light touch and narcotic use of time is still bold and strikingly rare.
'Chessa' is calming, romantic and almost sugary sweet at times, but it refuses to fall into nostalgia or cheap manipulation. Abrams' compositions are subtle and affecting, and he chooses to work in the same heaving, atmospheric realm as Stefan Betke or Wolfgang Voigt, spiking his material with emotion simultaneously. It's a breath of fresh air after a decade or longer of cloying playlist ambient and lifeless hauntological nostalgia.