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SPL 012 CD SPL 012 CD

"With 1996's Signal Series, Chessie's Stephen Gardner staked out a distinctive spot for himself on the electronic landscape. Chessie blends live bass playing with heavily syncopated beats gathered and looped without samplers or sequencers, tempered by a rigorous aesthetic more in line with the chance composition techniques of modern classical artists than with your typical jungle or IDM producer. The final result is music far removed from the strictures of the dancefloor, a soundspace that conjures images both oceanic and gritty, a rhythmic train ride through that long, dark tunnel. The new Chessie album, Meet goes so much farther into the unknown that reasonable points of reference become harder to find. Tracks like 'Brake Test' and 'Nowa Huta' move into a slightly beatier realm, bringing to mind artists on the Karaoke Kalk label, while cuts like "Between Asleep and Awake on SP7591" and 'Follow Me Home' defy analysis, plunging the listener into fractured electronic sound wells that recall the avant rock Laika if it was produced by 4 Hero at their darkest. Yes, all the 'right' influences are there in the grooves, from Cage to Satie to Autechre, but Chessie is clearly onto something quite different and special here. Where Signal Series stunned with its iconoclastic brilliance, Meet handily surpasses it in every measure. It is an amazing, enveloping album: a journey by railroad into the clanking, reverberating night."