Andrew Chalk 'The End Times' CD
ICR is happy to be releasing the first new solo album by Andrew in five years, completed in 2022 at Impression Lointaine.
Thirteen beautiful melodic tracks that weave in and out of focus in an almost hallucinatory manner, evoking many different moods and emotions.
13 tracks in a digipack sleeve, mastered by Dennis Blackham with artwork by Andrew.
This will also be available on release from :
where there also be a cassette edition for sale.
“The ebb and flow of memory and experience.
Upstream and downstream, the constant progress of the tide moving slowly
over the river-bed, ever faithful in its wooing of the water's brink.
Unity of purpose-the flowing tide in harmony with itself. Memory and
experience-the tideline of our perception.”
from Tideline by Edward Seago-1948
Review by Anthony D'Amico on brainwashed.com :
Keeping up with Andrew Chalk’s discography has always been an amusingly challenging endeavor, but the challenge has shifted from pouncing on limited edition physical releases to vigilantly ensuring that he does not quietly surface with a substantial new opus of some kind without my notice. The most recent substantial new opus is this one on Colin Potter’s ICR label, which is billed as Chalk’s “first new solo album in five years.” It certainly feels like a major statement to me, though the meaning of terms like “new” and “album” can be quite blurry and elusive given Chalk’s singularly minimalist approach to providing album details. In any case, The End Times was (perhaps prophetically) recorded earlier this year and marks a rare CD release after Chalk’s recent run of cassettes. Beyond that, further details are quite slim. That is just fine by me, as the only thing that actually matters is that Andrew Chalk is still making incredibly beautiful and distinctive music, as The End Times is a characteristically sublime and immersive dreamscape of tender melodies, elegantly shifting moods, and vividly detailed textures.
The opening “House of the Holy” provides an appropriately representative introduction to the album’s overall aesthetic, as a vaporous melody of blurred, lingering notes unfolds over a gently gurgling pulse. As the album unfolds, a few subtle new details emerge that set The End Times apart from some of Chalk’s other recent work, but the most prominent features throughout are the quivering, liquid-like character of the notes and the ephemeral brevity of the pieces. Rather than evolving and expanding, these 13 pieces instead feel like a series of enigmatic mirages that offer a fleeting and flickering glimpse of heaven before dissolving back into nothingness. Given all the gentle, blurred sounds and the tone of meditative reverie, it is deceptively easy to mistake The End Times for ambient music, yet it reveals itself to be considerably more than that for those willing to fully immerse themselves in Chalk’s slow-motion fantasia of beautiful details and small yet significant events. I view it as somewhat akin to looking through a rain-streaked window–it is easy to gaze through the glass and simply think “today is a wet and overcast day,” but it is also possible to appreciate how the individual droplets quiver and roll down the glass or how the streaks of water subtly bend and warp the appearance of the outside world. Albums like this are the reason why the genre term “lowercase” needed to exist, as Chalk’s compositions are incredibly rich, but the size of the reward is directly proportional to how closely one listens.
While Chalk’s vision admittedly tends to focus on the metaphorical trees, he does not entirely forget the metaphorical forest, so there are some more overt pleasures to be found as well. The most immediately gratifying is “Midsummar,” which feels like a bittersweetly melodic piano miniature transformed into quavering, viscous droplets of bliss, but it also features a bit of a gently hallucinatory Ghost Box/library music feel. Elsewhere, the shimmering, sad beauty of “The End Times” steals the show as the beating heart of the album, while “War Horns” uses a simple, ghostly melody as the canvas for a micro-scale fireworks display of Pole-esque hisses, clicks, and pops. “At Sunset” is yet another quiet stunner, as Chalk transforms a slow parade of frayed, swelling tones into something that feels like time lapse footage of the psychotropic bloom of an otherworldly flower. More than any other piece on the album, “At Sunset” illustrates the singular magic of a great Andrew Chalk piece, as he is without peer at sculpting compositions until nothing remains but a fleeting and fragile moment of simple poignant beauty.
REVIEW BY FRANS DE WAARD, VITAL WEEKLY : As I am playing this new release by Andrew Chalk, I realize a few things. One is, perhaps, the most obvious, I have known the man's music for quite some years, but somehow I think I hardly ever review his music. His solo work and his work with Timo van Luijk (as Elodie) didn't make these pages a lot. I believe I wrote about all his works with Christoph Heeman, a duo called Mirror, but that was already many years ago. But the solo arist hardly makes it to these pages. Maybe his releases, all wonderfully packed, so I am told, are too limited for promotion? The other thing I realized is that I have no clue about Chalk's setup when producing music. His music is very delicate and gentle. A couple of keyboards, maybe a guitar? The guitar seems to be the most likely candidate after repeated listening. Some loops of percussive elements? That kind of thing, perhaps. But for all I know, Chalk uses a laptop and some software, some of which plugins may imitate glitches, hiss and crackles. I have no idea, but the results are excellent. Chalk plays throughout short music pieces, which are very much to the point, even when they are, at times, very watercoloury and sketchy. Chalk paints with sound, but not with paint, not with firm strokes, but with touches, brushes and a pencil. Never going too much into the world of drones, Chalk likes a more open approach. Notes, not drones, seem to be his message. But, as I said, they aren't absent. They have a background role, such as in 'At Sunset'. That happens, and the sun setting here as I write these words and Chalks' moody tones fit this time of day very well.