John Chantler’s last full-length, The Luminous Ground, has stuck with me for the past few years since it was released. Chantler’s work is always very considered and each note or passage chosen and assembled carefully. Even Clean Hands Damage The Work builds on these ideas and explores them further. It finds Chantler at his absolute best.
It should be noted that Even Clean Hands was recorded “across a range of studios including Stockholm’s hallowed EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) using their classic Buchla 200 and Serge systems,” and while that’s great, this album is all about Chantler’s skill and vision. I’m certain that with any tools he’d pull off something incredible.
Across both side-long suites, there are an endless array of electronic peaks and valleys. Chantler flits between fierce, straight-to-the-gut sonics and Riley-esque melodic enchantment. Underwater circuitry creates a fertile bed for experimentation on “Dismantled Cabaret” whereas “Wollmar Organ” is deeply meditative. It takes multiple listens and close attention to finally begin unfolding Even Clean Hands Damage The Work, but even then this album is not quick to let go of its secrets. Big time recommendation.
Even Clean Hands Damage The Work is out now on Room40.