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Chris Russell — Noir
(Projekt ARC311, 2024, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-03-29

Noir Cover art

Chris Russel is an ambient sound artist who has been releasing material since 2009’s Aralu, with a total of thirty releases to date; his earliest releases were on the Relaxed Machinery label, followed by several self-released albums, half a dozen or so on Spotted Peccary, including some collaborations with Phillip Wilkerson, Pixyblink, Dawn Tuesday, Mystified and others. Following 2022’s collaboration Transmissions from Serpent Mound with Jarguna on Projekt; Noir is Russell’s first solo release on Projekt, a collection of eight tracks of blissful ambient electronics, an album of sprawling widescreen soundscapes that shimmer with beauty, light and shadows, full of rich textures, concealing broad interlocking patterns steaming just below the surface, sometimes menacing, other times cascading and powerful, but always pulling the listener into its soundworld. The set opener “Visible Light” brings all of that beauty to bear in a mystical cosmic essence. “Noir” is French for “black,” as well as the title track at position four, a mysterious swirling pocket of ambience. Pushing and pulling outward and inward, where fragments of color splash across a darkened sky. Russell notes that Noir began following the loss of his father, noting that the experience of losing a parent led him to express the emotions and feelings that he was experiencing through his music, although what he presents to the listener is not overly dark or troubling, merely a cascade of complex emotions. The music at hand floats freely without a cadence, purely instrumental in nature, shifting through numerous temperaments and moods. “The Grey Chamber” pushes and pulls, shifting uneasily between brittle shadows and elemental complexities, while “Thin Veils” closes the set with almost symphonic grandeurr, full of bristling and jagged elements that draw the listener deep into a different world. With Noir Russell has created an engaging and otherworldly journey that should open new sonic realms for the astute listener.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Chris Russell

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