Review: Chester Hawkins – Semisolids

Chester Hawkins - SemisolidsWhat are we waiting for? Semisolids is an anticipation; minute hands cycling on the faces of factory floor clocks, bringing an empty future round again and again, ticking within a stasis that feels prone to imminent and dramatic change. The album is stuck in a void of timelessness: dreaming back into the staccato arpeggiations of yesterday’s synthesisers (Conrad Schnitzler, Tangerine Dream), trapped between a dull, pulsating technology takeover of tomorrow and the planetary apocalypse that no doubt follows soon after. There is a slight glimmer of stargazing optimism in those squiggles of melody rising into the upper frequencies, but the stasis dominates – Semisolids is trapped under the beeps and strobes of future-technology routine, which resounds in a collective hymn dedicated to dystopian world takeover.

But change is coming: the thickening drone during “The Brood” sounds like an overcharged wire announcing its excess voltage, while thin glissandos arc between the drums of “Slender Loris” like bomber planes tracing the horizon line. Noise bloats among the repetition like a metropolis sucking up its own smog, as Hawkins weaves the tremors of evolution into a repetition that feels instable, mortal – I’m too wary of the danger signals to be lulled into hypnosis, and instead sit tense and upright, ready to react when Semisolids brings about its own collapse. It’s not a volatile record exactly, but tension resides in the fact that it could be.