Published May 27, 2016Chambers are an experimental duo from Vancouver that make music influenced by dub, ambient, techno, noise and more. Their first outing, Sigma Flare I, created bleak but beautiful textures that evoked coastal grandeur and urban nightlife.
Their followup, Sigma Flare II, continues in that mode, beginning with some pleasantly melodic echoes, like something a good post-rock band like This Will Destroy You or Mono would do. Just before the one-minute mark, some menacing sub-bass kicks in, evoking some of Trent Reznor's dramatic thriller score work (The Social Network, etc.).
The second track opens with a kind of jazzy compound chord that could resolve any number of ways. It lingers, and we're suspended for a while, as more spooky, electronic percussion is layered in. It develops into the kind of understated poly-groove that Kieran Hebden might cook up after 3 a.m. Instead of a dance-oriented drop, it eventually dissipates into two kinds of ambient noise: electrical live wire crackles and soothing seaside waves.
The third track further develops these noise elements into cathedral-like echoes of distortion not unlike fellow Canadian Tim Hecker. The foundation is a droning, moody sub-bass, which becomes the bedrock of their sound sculpture. The interesting parts, the melodic contours if you will, are in the asymmetrical harmonics, or "noise" elements; part of Chambers' charm is their ability to reverse the usual dichotomy between tonal elements delivering action and noisy elements disrupting or taking away from that action. The bass and other sounds are relatively static overall and the noise frequencies are where the journey takes place.
Chambers craft mesmerizing soundscapes, balancing atmosphere and rhythm in ways that feel both modern and unique. Give this record a deep listen with some good headphones. (Debacle)