Dan Powell’s “Four Walks at Old Chapel” reviewed by Vital Weekly

A few weeks ago I reviewed a CDR by Muster, a duo of James O’Sullivan and Dan Powell. Now the latter appears in a solo capacity. He’s also part of The Static Memories and Nil. I don’t think I heard his solo work before, so I had no idea what to expect. The recordings here were made at the old Chapel Farm, which is “an adventure in living, which aims to bring people close to the fundamentals of human existence: the creation of food and shelter” Powell visits the place since 2011 with his family and in 2018 he and his daughter collected objects and “gathered them together in a straw bale hut suspended over a stream in a wooded valley which the farm’s owners made available for us to use.
He recorded small performances with them, brushing, scraping and rubbing them to produce a wide range of intimate sounds.” All of this, combined with field recordings went into the computer back home and re-worked all of these into the four tracks that we find on this cassette. It is a most enjoyable release, of musique concrète proportions, but Powell created something quite playful. It is not about some strict rules of composition, nor does it rely too much on granular synthesis as his more serious peers would do. With Powell’s version we hear the field recordings as they were when committed to tape, we hear the cracking and rubbing upon objects, and we encounter small transformations of this, set in a more performance setting, which adds a delicate live electronics feeling to the music. It keeps everything with a beautiful vibrancy together. He overlays his original material with additional electronic material, feedback here, a big, fat drone there, or cut-up collage techniques using the good ol’ reel-to-reel machine, adds to the energy and variety of the music, and together with a powerful as well as colourful thirty minutes. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

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