The Tapeworm presents…



TTW#95 – Pinkcourtesyphone – Something You Are Or Something You Do

Edition #1 – cassette only – limited edition of 100 copies

Edition #2 - cassette only – pink shell, limited edition of 50 copies

A: But It Felt/In Other Dreams
B: She Who Controls

Formed from plastics and particulars by Richard Chartier, 2015 – “I am lonely, yet I feel wonderful…”

Pinkcourtesyphone is a continuing project by Los Angeles-based sound artist Richard Chartier. He is considered one of the key figures in the current of reductionist sound art which has been termed both microsound and Neo-Modernist. Chartier’s minimalist digital work explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception and the act of listening itself.

Pinkcourtesyphone is a more emotional, dare one say musical side of his work. Pinkcourtesyphone is dark but not arch, with a slight hint of humor. Pinkcourtesyphone is amorphous, changing, and slipping in and out of consciousness. Pinkcourtesyphone operates like a syrup-y dream and strives to be both elegant and detached.

Pinkcourtesyphone has collaborated with the likes of  Cosey Fanni Tutti, Kid Congo Powers, harpist Gwyneth Wentink, AGF, William Basinski, and Evelina Domnitch. Pinkcourtesyphone’s work has been released internationally on labels including: Editions MEGO (Austria), Room40 (Australia), LINE (US), Important Records (US), Dragon’s Eye Recordings (US), Farmacia901 (IT), Champion Version (UK), Boomkat (UK), and IO Sound (Canada).

Chartier’s sound works/installations have been presented in galleries and museums internationally and he has performed his work live across Europe, Japan, Australia, and North America at digital art/electronic music festivals and exhibits. In 2000 he formed the recording label LINE and has since curated its continuing documentation of compositional and installation work by international sound artists/composers exploring the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism.


Brainwashed (US):

With both of his primary projects releasing new material at nearly the same time, it becomes tempting to compare and contrast Richard Chartier’s academic-tinged solo work with the slightly campy (at least in presentation) Pinkcourtesyphone, and at the superficial level there is a lot of similarity. Both “Removed” and “Something You Are Or Something You Do” are slow, sparse works that at times drift into near silence, but besides the mood and presentation, the actual compositional approach separates them most. The two are rather distinct works that each capture part of Chartier’s style extremely effectively. […]

“Something You Are Or Something You Do”, the latest Pinkcourtesyphone release, seems like a proper fit for the cassette format. For a project so tinged with vintage imagery, the medium is perfect. The analog imperfections of the tape work as well, as the gentle hiss adds to the barbiturate haze in its own way, but would have been entirely distracting for “Removed”. Right at the start “But it Felt/In Other Dreams” is far more commanding: a hazy, almost spacy wall of sound extending out with just the right amount of rumble to it. Despite some shimmering passages that shine through, it is a rather bleak and haunting bit of music, amongst the darkest in the PCP catalog.

The other side of the tape, “She Who Controls” is cut from a similar cloth, but has a greater density and sense of texture to it. The errant crackle gives a nice depth to the frigid roar that surrounds it. Compared to what preceded it, there is less change and more sustained, cavernous like dynamics to the piece. Structurally it is as stripped down as Chartier’s work on “Removed”, but with more demanding, forceful sounds. The ending is perhaps the most striking part of the composition, however, with a quick transition to lightness and bell-like tones that are far less oppressive than what preceded it.

On the surface, Richard Chartier's solo work and Pinkcourtesyphone may seem quite alike: both are projects of lengthy compositions, often kept at rather quiet volumes, and comprised of sparse, electronic tones and textures. Listening to them back to back, however, the distinction is very clear. “Removed” comes from more of a sound art background: classically minimalist with staunch attention to detail and structure. It is clinical, but not cold or inhuman in its character. Comparatively, “Something You Are” feels less rigid, yet there is a malignance in its enchanting ennui. It feels structurally looser, and a greater sense of rawness due to the more dissonant sounds Chartier is working with. But what it comes down to is that the two sides of this one brilliant artist’s work compliment each other perfectly, and both are essential listening, in my opinion.

Boomkat (UK):

Richard Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone pores vent another absorbing example of pharmaceutically affective ambient music from his louche, and now quite regular avatar. It’s the kinda music you might expect the ladies of Deux Filles to make once they had married into old Californian money and are now living out their autumn years gracefully, sequestered in the hills of LA in a dosed-up Lynchian fantasy. Intoxicating stuff.


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