Two and a Half With Richard Chartier

By Headphone Commute, July 2008

LINE is a label of another breed and dimension. Created by Richard Chartier in 2000 under the 12k umbrella, LINE publishes experimental and abstract installation compositions by sound artists exploring contemporary digital minimalism. LINE has a nice roster of signal processing and deconstructing composers, including Alva Noto, Taylor Deupree, Vend and Asmus Tietchens.

For the latest limited 2008 release, LINE has re-issued a 2004 acclaimed work by Richard Chartier and William Basinski, Untitled 1-3, first appearing on Japanese label Spekk. The two original Untitled tracks are remastered by Taylor Deupree and complimented by two new works - Untitled 3 and its Reprise. The initial edition of 1300 remained on the market for only two months before completely selling out.

Basinski has been working on experimental soundscapes for over twenty five years. His installations and collaborations with filmmaker, James Elaine, have received international exposure and acclaim. Chartier has been producing experimental and minimal work that "explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, and the act of listening." His sound works reached international exhibits and digital art/music festivals. Both musicians have appeared on Olaf Bender and Carsten Nicolai's hailed German label, Raster-Noton.

In this aural documentary of another planet's lifeform, Basinski incorporates tape loops and elements from an eight voice polyphonic analog synthesizer from 1982, Voyetra-8. Chartier adds thick slabs of frequencies with elements from various sound installations. The piece is dark, haunting, and brooding, with alien feathered beings chirping in the background. Although the ambiance of composition is everlasting, the feeling of uneasiness remains with you well after you've downloaded these instructions into your brain. Untitled 2, at 35 minutes alone, is your guide for examining the album's abstract expressionist artwork by Chartier himself. Bring this album with you while visiting your local contemporary museum, select a dark, minimal, and abstract piece, and dissolve for a half an hour into the essence of being. You will find it... there...

I caught up with Richard Chartier and exchanged a few words.
Here are your Two and a Half Questions...

Untitled 1-3 is a dark album, would you agree? What are the images that the soundscapes paint for you when you close your eyes?
i think the "untitled1" is a bit dark but not necessarily the rest of the works. william described the first piece as very evocative of dark sky with swirling birds. i think that piece at the same time has moments of brightness.

What is the current state of digital minimalism as an art form?
oh i am not sure i can make any statements about that. i can say i hear less and less that i enjoy. there is a lot of minimalism for minimalism's sake that feels lacking in depth. : )

How has the exposure to sound installations (as opposed to producing albums) has influenced your creativity and composition?
i see installation versus composition very different processes and end products. the works i do for installation often do not have a set ending and are made of shifting loops that change over time. composing is far different structurally.

How does DSP and post-analog production changed your approach to sound design?
it actually got me interested in making sound again in 1997. having studied design and painting, working with sound visually ( ie program interfaces) it felt very intuitive. seeing wave patterns etc, rather than programming a synthesizer like my early days. less math and physics and more subjectivity perhaps.

Do you ever pause during the day hearing a slight noise or a sound wishing you could sample it? Any memorable moments?
oh yes all the time. i usually like ambient noise. white noises... subtle things. one of my external hard drives is making an interesting sound right now (hopefully not a 'bad' sound)

Who are some of the past installations or artists that you wish you could have archived for LINE?
ivan pavlov (CoH) and i had discussed releasing his "above air" cd which i really love. also william basinski was originally scheduled to have "silent night" released on LINE but after much discussion it was better for him to self-release on his 2062 label.

Your music is an entire experience. Where is the best place to listen to your music? [I guess it doesn't have to be a real physical location].
outer space... just kidding. perhaps wherever the listener is comfortable.

Are there any upcoming Richard Chartier compositions, as well as LINE releases?
LINE has several projects out/coming out. currently a collection of compilation works of mine entitled Further Materials is out now, it is a follow up to to 2002's Other Materials. it's nice to hear these works compiled, they flow surprisingly well. the works on it are rather varied. compilation tracks for me can be experiments or something unexpected... like the VERY loud and noisy final piece on the cd "tempt".

coming out in June is "Extended Play" cd by British composer and installation artist Janek Schaefer. it's another unusual release for LINE, acoustic and emotional. later this year we have 2 DVDs "Attacking Silence" by SND's Mark Fell and "Colorfield Variations" with audio visual works inspired by the mid century colorfield painting movement. quite an array of artists on this DVD including: Frank Bretschneider, Alan Callander, Chris Carter + Cosey Fanni Tutti (ChrisCosey / Throbbing Gristle), Sue Costabile, Evelina Domnitch + Dmitry Gelfand, Mark Fell (SND/Blir) + Ernest Edmonds, Tina Frank + General Magic, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Stephan Mathieu, Steve Roden, Sawakko, and Bas Van Koolwijk.

i am working on several new projects at this time. a solo recording entitled "Recurrent", the second collaboration with German electronic pioneer Asmus Tietchens, a collaborative installation with artist Linn Meyers, and NICE BOX a pop project with Russian post-popper CoH.

CD . Absence [ 3particles, US ]
CD . Untitled 1-3 by W.Basinski+R.Chartier [ LINE, US ]
CD . Further Materials [ LINE, USA ]

10x7" . Recovery - Various Artists [ Fractured Recordings, UK ] July 8
BOOK . designs in Best of Disk Art Innovation in CD, DVD or Vinyl Design & Packaging [ Rotovision, UK ]   |   |

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