Boomkat Product Review:
130 year old Tchaikovsky chorales are rendered sublime and ghostly by Craig Tattersall & Emmanuel Witzhum, aka E And I, on a hauntingly gorgeous 2nd release for Letra Rec - the label set up by Craig and The Boats’ Andy Hargreaves for “closer listening.” A big look for fans of Stars of The Lid, Pinkcourtesyphone or William Basinski.
Proceeding in stately fashion from Kira Kira’s mantric soundscapes, Letra Rec’s 2nd CD lives up to the label’s aim to “allow listeners to fully immerse themselves in the music” with an unbroken 43’ piece that draws you in and holds you there for what feels like eons. Using techniques transposed from print and copy making (a speciality of Craig Tattersall), the duo subtly create a facsimile of Tchaikovsky’s Nine Sacred Pieces - a series of choral works written between 1884-1885 - which they treat to create a gauzy sense of detachment between the religious connotations of the source material and the music’s elemental, emotive pull, in the process effectively resulting a collection of songs that are the same but new, dreamily different.
While neither half of Tattersall and Witzhum can actually sing (or in a way that you’d want to hear at least), it’s fair to say that their musical voices and thoughts are conveyed thru the music, and in a way that resonates richly with their slow-cooked and secular, spiritualist worldview. They achieved this effect thru handling the original choral voices, in their own words “…like an audio photocopy working with only contrast and zoom.” With a little bit of maths, digital editing and analogue tape work, they were able to open acres of billowing space where their own presence manifests as the decaying ephemera of time, metaphorically suggesting the haunting quantum effect of being at once within, yet detached, from the music, and by turns applying that effect to the listener, who may well be transported to an out of body experience.