Our Sunday Service mix series is back for its 6th edition, this time from the Monotony imprint’s Bryan Chapman, who serves up a selection of ambient atmospherics for your delectation. The Waveform Transmitter‘s Ste Knight presents, ahead of Bryan’s forthcoming release ‘7 Shadows and Iron Lungs’.
Fans of hypnotic, loop-driven techno will be well aware of Bryan Chapman‘s output. The man at the helm of Monotony has been busy in the studio over the past 12 months, chronicling the adventures of a fictitious traveller across four separate EPs. The culmination of this series sees Bryan releasing his debut album, titled ‘7 Shadows and Iron Lungs’ via his own imprint. The album is available for purchase from tomorrow (September 24th) as a digital only release. You can grab it from all good download stores.
The album itself is an exercise in deep, emotive techno, playing heavily on the atmospherics produced by the sound. Feelings of melancholy, darkness, loneliness and despair are aired throughout, giving the album a somewhat sombre feel. That is not to say the album isn’t enjoyable, far from it, I found it to be most introspective; it allowed me to explore my own subconscious emotions as I listened to it, with the ambience created conjuring a host of synesthetic visions, as dark, open landscapes gave way to claustrophobic spaces, squeezing and pinching, before flinging us back out into uncharted terrain.
This is one of the finest qualities of the album, its ability to push the listener one moment and tug at them the next, perfectly marrying together an ambient ouvre with its contrasting dancefloor counterparts. We have both brooding electronics and peak time thrummers, perfectly crafted into one whole, which maintains coherency across the board; a feat that is not achievable by many of Chapman‘s peers.
What we have, is the climax of Bryan‘s tale of The Traveler. Opening up with the heavyweight electronics of Primal, our narrator sets out his stall for what is to come, as synths scream and clatter against one another, the low-slung percussion, treated to the max with distortion, instils foreboding into the track’s audience, making for some tense moments as we step into the shadows with our Traveler pacing ahead of us, beckoning us into the darkness.
Cylon takes a dubby turn, yet offers no respite from the disquietude that the albums opener purveys. This lull comes with the haunting, loop-techno of Subconscious Breaking Out of Your Face, its contorted kick drum matched perfectly with a ringing, echoing bell synth. The brief hiatus from the nightmarish tropes of the first two tracks is soon broken; the death toll as the ego escapes the body, ripped from its roots and set free into the ether.
Confusion reigns supreme as the hypnotic Carcosa takes hold, which segues us nicely into the Kafkaesque ambience of Sand, which you can hear at the opening of Bryan‘s Sunday Service mix. The 14-minute epic that is Black, follows suit. Synths breathe and pulsate with a harrowingly organic quality, like some unspeakable beast awakening amidst a tumult of chaos and depravity. We are sailing down the inky blackness of Cocytus, with no hope of return.
7 plays as though we are slipping in and out of consciousness. On the one hand, we are surrounded by lonely spirits on an astral plane, with no interaction to speak of other than the fleeting glimpse into their pasts, as the ghostly apparitions pass through. This is contrasted by the almost earthly choral pad, which penetrates the track as we briefly re-enter the world we inhabit when awake and lucid. Tipping us into the final third of the album, we have I Don’t Know What My Mother’s Feet Look Like, which is a dancefloor-ready effort, taking a pulverising percussive pattern and laying it down for the repetitive synth to attack mercilessly.
The torment doesn’t let up, as Cut the Kids in Half sets out to do just that. Panning samples are layered expertly atop one another, cutting swathes through loops and samples; this is definitive dub techno, which is made all the more chilling by the insistence of the muted, acidic bassline. The penultimate track, Embers, sees us hot on the heels of The Traveler, as he races through mountains of static, his footsteps crashing into the terrain with each thunderous beat of the kick drum. Our journey ends with the Dead Shadows we encountered in 7. Perhaps our quest with The Traveler has not ended as we may like. Swelling sub bass frequencies tell a harrowing tale, perhaps our guide has left us amidst the drifting embers of the previous track. We will never know for sure.
One of the most striking things about electronic music is the ability of the artist producing it to weave a rich tale before us, without the aid of lyrical content with which they can be assisted in their storytelling. Chapman achieves this anecdotal quality with ease, and while the interpretation is wholly subjective, there will always be common themes that run through the experience of each individual listener. This is a wondrous album, and one that is worthy of any techno fan’s time.
You can preview several tracks from the album in Bryan‘s atmospheric contribution to our Sunday Service mix series, the tracklist for which is included, below. Feel free to head over to our mixes page, to see what other delights await. See you on the other side.
1. Bryan Chapman – Sand [Monotony]
2. Rommek – Komatiite [Blueprint]
3. In Aeternam Vale – Hole [Dement3d]
4. rrao – Anita [The Bunker New York]
5. Grand River – Flies [Spazio Disponibile]
6. Bryan Chapman – Primal [Monotony]
7. Massive Attack vs Burial – Four Walls [The Vinyl Factory]
8. Hypoxia – Active Tension (Live in L.A) [BL_K}
9. Monoloc, Beauty of Inconsequenz – Flowing [Unterland]
10. Bryan Chapman – Dead Shadows [Monotony]
11. Sintoma – Infiltrade 1 [Illegal Alien Records]
12. Mekas – Atmen Reprise [Aula Magna Records]
13. In Aeternam Vale – Drones [Dement3d]