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    Chris Campbell – Things You Already Know

    Chris Campbell - Things You Already Know

    For his third camping trip up on the peak of Mt. Innova, where he works as the operations manager, the young whipper snapper of a composer Chris Campbell dips his feet into the wading pools of two different musical worlds–avant-garde classical and indy almost-rock–and blends them stitchlessly. On this new CD, which is called Things You Already Know, Chris presents a loosely organized collection of sounds you never even knew belonged together…until now. Instrumentally, he achieves this by combining the unusual: propane tank drums, bowed psaltery and singing bowls, with the usual: guitar, cello, piano and drums. Opening with a brief overture called “Form = Emptiness,” Chris establishes an incredibly mellow mood with nothing more than a sparse, lyrical theme on piano accompanied by a bit of plaintive singing far off in the background. “Lord Byron” kicks it up a huge notch as it segues back and forth between oddly rhythmic woozy workouts on stringed instruments and percussion that coalesce into busy blurs, only to lapse into quiet, tinkling contemplation. Then, on a wooden nickel, some super lyrical violin sweeps you away into Swoonville for a while until–bam!–it’s off with your head as you’re sent packing back to that gray area of shambling oddities. This track perfectly encapsulates Chris’ aesthetic of “accumulation and punctuation,” which artistically reflects how the outside world gets inside each of us.

    In “Torso of a Bodhisattva,” which is one of the two main pieces on the album, a metal pan provides a slow heartbeat rhythm for a sawing violin drone to mesmerize your mind before melding into a slab of stately chamber pop, ending in a pleasant droning ambience. The title track briefly reprises the gorgeous piano theme from the overture, while “Water Mirror” displays some quiet string drones punctuated by a round of reverbed percussion. The second main piece, “Water Variations,” is built on a repetitive ascending psaltery line with propane tank hits that swells up into a slab of tweaked chamber rock, only to proceed on into a wasteland of splintered sounds, ending up with a few quiet drones and gentle bedspring plucks. Finishing where it started off, the album’s contemplative coda, “Emptiness = Form,” states the gentle piano theme for the third and final time, which is indeed the charm. After repeated listening, it’s pleasantly obvious that Chris Campbell is one composer who really knows when to ramp up the chaos and when to dial it down and let the music breathe. Thus, the ever-shifting aural world of Things You Already Know sounds totally flowing and natural, and close listening to its fine detail will be rewarded. Further, at only a smidgen over a half-hour long, rest assured it won’t bore you into submission like some other 78-minute snooze fests. All in all, it’s safe to say this one is a winner. And know this: Even though it’s only June, I already know Things You Already Know is one of the best albums of 2014. But, if you’ve heard it, you already knew that.

    Label: Innova Catalog Number: innova 860 Format: CD Packaging: Digi-Pak Tracks: 7 Total Time: 33:45 Country: United States Released: 2014 More: Innova, New Music Box, Official

    Text ©2014 Arcane Candy

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