Review: Chaines + Tom Rose – SPLIT

Rather than present each artist in its own distinct block, SPLIT alternates back and forth between tracks by its two participants. It swings pendulum-like between two states, placing emphasis on the point of transition between them; that “similar but different” co-dependency that renders the split format somewhat awkwardly poised, relishing in the tension that arises as similarity and contrast take the release through vibratory push-and-pull. The evocations of Tom Rose and Chaines feel most appropriate for such a dynamic. Both deal in fragmented structures of half-built rhythms and melodic material spilling freely out of the lines; not deconstructions exactly, but certainly only part-constructed, existing as a loose congregation of sounds brought into nervous and loose acquaintance.

Tom Rose occupies tracks 1, 3 and 5: torn up sheets of synth chords, with beats and pops scattered loosely over the top. Much of the source material tends towards the aqueous, yet its implementation is jerky and uncertain – cutting in and out of silence like a lava lamp on the blink, ticking forward on rhythms that send thumps and clicks stumbling into eachother. Yet while Rose’s music remains somewhat tranquil in its meandering movement, Chaines takes SPLIT through a much sharper and more erratic series of turns. The sources of his sounds are vast and sometimes indeterminable – reshaped voices, leaking accordions, babies crying, sudden siren growls, cassette tape droplets in reverse – and the manner of their collage is equally as eclectic. Quiet patches are overturned without warning, with the quiet murmurings of “Transverberation” bursting suddenly open with what sounds like a flock of bats all evacuating a cave at once.

Something interesting happens as this penultimate track seeps across into Rose’s closer, “Peter Storm”. His sounds become brighter, more agitated – more akin to torches shone directly onto eyeballs rather than the foggy lighthouse beams of his earlier tracks. It’s like a direct reaction to Chaines’ turbulent mannerisms, rousing Rose’s rippling lakes into the choppy waters of response. It’s the most explicit example, but one can then venture back to discover points of anticipation and retort between the artists as one track feeds into the next – the closing violin solo that takes Chaines’ “Speak Gentle Words” off the boil prior to Rose’s “The North Face”, for instance. Whether this is deliberate or not, both musicians seem to acknowledge eachother at the point of transition; a momentary flash of eye contact as the sonic baton is passed over.