Talvihorros / Damian Valles: Monuments and Ruins CD

This new split on the Textura label brings together UK-based composer, Talvihorros (aka Ben Chatwin), and Canadian Damien Valles for a lush set of spacious experimentalism. Talvihorros opens with the strings-and-crunch-laden "From Within A Hollow Body (Part I)." It's a heartbreakingly beautiful piece of work as layer-upon-layer of cascading sound is built into something massive and overbearing. It is music rife with tension, holding onto the ledge tighter and tighter until there's nothing left to do but let go and free fall into oblivion. "From Within A Hollow Body (Part II)" is like being lost in a black expanse, unable to perceive any depth or passage of time. Enchanted by Chatwin's carefully chosen, scraped-up guitar notes, you flutter through the air, lost in endless space. This is subtley dark, beautiful music. Valles keeps the momentum churning by blowing all of Chatwin's ideas to bits and pieces with "Hollow Earth Theory." It's the perfect recipe. If Talvihorros built the monument, Valles is immortalizing the ruins. Graveyard dirges of scraped strings and discordant, sporadic piano notes crawl through the black dirt, digging in deeper as they go. The lower the piece gets, the heavier Valles plays his hand. As everything builds to a gloriously organic crescendo in this incredibly detailed piece, Valles smothers the last bit of life out with an ominous drone. - Brad Rose, Experimedia
IN LATE 2011, textura approached two of its favourite artists, Ben Chatwin (aka Talvihorros) and Damian Valles, to ask whether the two might be interested in contributing to a split release featuring newly created works by them. Much to our delight, the two, seeing themselves as simpatico artists, agreed and shortly thereafter produced the magnificent original material featured on Monuments and Ruins. What they created amounts to an incredible and immersive listening experience whose detail has been mastered in all its resplendent glory by James Plotkin. Those wishing to draw a connection between the album title and the musical content might hear Chatwin's two-part work as having rendered the majestic character of a monument into aural form, while Valles' piece conjures a vision of ruins.

Talvihorros's From Within A Hollow Body begins with bowed tones panning forebodingly between left and right channels before growing ever more grainy and epic. A sound-world of immense power declares itself as various layers of bowed and plucked guitars swell into a seething mass, until the storm lifts and a gradual lessening of intensity brings about a relative sense of calm. The work's second part unfolds in an elegiac haze as guitars shudder against a smoldering backdrop of soot and grime, before a beautiful series of strums emerge during the final minutes to bring the piece to a graceful close. Valles' Hollow Earth Theory emerges gradually from a swamp of scrapes and flutter like some diseased phantom condemned to roam the blasted remains of unidentified terrain. Gothic and bluesy, the music unspools in a dust-coated stream of piano shadings and grainy drones, before its equally portentous second half finds it dramatically expanding in scale and detail.

With the artists having created such powerful material, it was important that the visual presentation of the recording be as striking, and with that in mind two powerfully evocative photographs by Jürgen Heckel (aka Sogar) were selected to complement the works produced by Chatwin and Valles. textura is proud to be able to showcase the artistry of all involved on this distinctive release.

Tracks 1 and 2 recorded by Ben Chatwin during the winter months of 2011-2012 at home in London, UK using bowed, plucked, and hit acoustic guitar, plucked and prepared electric guitar, bowed and plucked mandolin, viola, and Hohner Pianet; viola on track 1 by Anais Lalange

Track 3 recorded by Damian Valles in November, 2011 at home in The Kawartha Lakes using acoustic and electric guitars, piano, ukulele, AKG C 3000 B, Shure SM57, computer

Talvihorros is the name under which Ben Chatwin issues his guitar-and-electronics works. Numerous techniques are used to coax a myriad of sounds from both acoustic and electric guitars, and home-made and vintage electronic equipment are used to process and manipulate recorded material into dense and dark sound collages that the London, UK-based composer augments with analogue synths, organs, bells, percussion, and static. Talvihorros recordings have been released on Hibernate (2011's Descent Into Delta, 2010's Music In Four Movements) and Benbecula (2009's Some Ambulance), among other labels.

Damian Valles is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist who creates experimental ambient and drone-based soundscapes using solo guitar and with a variety of percussive elements, piano, and field recordings. He also curates the Rural Route series on Standard Form and performs as part of the experimental band, Boars, alongside Alex Durlak and Jeff McMurrich. He has issued several releases in multiple formats (limited CD-Rs, a cassette, two net-label releases, and compilation appearances) with the most recent being the full-length Skeleton Taxa (Drifting Falling, 2011), and his forthcoming LP, Nonparallel (In Four Movements), will be released by Experimedia during 2012.

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