Loren Chasse & Michael Northam
The Otolith
CD HMS 014

Vital Weekly
Number 652, November 2008
by Frans de Waard

We haven't heard from Lorren Chasse in some time, but then all of a sudden two releases in a short time span. Following 'The Footpath' (see Vital Weekly 648), there is now a release with Michael Northam. The latter is also not very often in these pages, but over the years more than Chasse, I'd say. In each of their solo works, there is a strong interest in using field recording on one hand, and instruments on the other, such as autoharps, ouds, flutes, bells, gongs, bowed wires, harmonium and Northam's magnetic table harp. The eight pieces on this disc were recorded over a period of three years in various locations - indoor and outdoor - in the USA and Europe. It may sound a bit daft, but it's exactly what one should expect from these men: drones linger, swift, sustain, swirl, and on top we have a rather interesting blend of the instruments - and sometimes things are reversed: the starting point being the bells, gongs and flutes to which various field recordings and drones are added. This makes a nice mixture of sounds - the rumble of the wind, the rumble of the wind in the chimes and the drones from a harmonium and the drones of resonant frequencies from various electrical currents. That might sound like I am disappointed in this release, but let me assure you I am not at all. Sometimes its fine to get whatever you hoped for. Fine music, executed well, highly atmospheric and done by two masters of the genre: what more do you want? This is a very nice work indeed.