Faraway Press

Although superficial listening could associate it with “ambient”, there’s always a silently painful quality in the unpolluted magnetism of Andrew Chalk’s music, the kind of unspoken sorrow that defines the afternoons of sensitive children looking through the window and observing their mates playing in the street, at the same time envious of that enjoyment yet aware that there’s something more, despite the calls to light-heartedness dictated by a young age. On a strictly musical level, in recent times Chalk has been trying to explicate these intimate details by recurring to the almost complete annihilation of his chosen instruments’ timbral qualities. It’s hard to tell if that pale luminescence caught in a blur of indistinct reverberation is generated by the stifled harmonics of guitar strings or by sparse piano dewdrops (the concrete possibility being, in the latter case, that Vikki Jackman may be responsible for the gentle incidences). The magic lies in the contrast between the music’s inherent calm and the evident movements that it generates inside. Humming mournfulness via faded melodic fragments, these sketches correspond to a plethora of stirring emotions that would otherwise remain inexpressible. Calling Chalk’s work an extension of some of Erik Satie’s insightful intuitions might sound silly, but the results are frequently comparable.