Ben Chatwin Heat and Entropy
Published Jul 27, 2016American label Ba Da Bing Records brings us the latest from Scotland-based electronic composer Ben Chatwin, a name some may be familiar with via his previous work as Talvihorros.
Titled Heat and Entropy, its cinematic soundscapes work hard to conjure a fittingly cosmic scope, and for the most part, they succeed. Chatwin works confidently in a highly visual style here, most often calling to mind '80s or '90s sci-fi films, but the album could just as easily be the soundtrack to a compilation of slow-motion volcano eruptions; Exercises in the epic and sublime could perhaps be its subtitle. Highlights include the climactic "Gravitational Bodies," the urgent galactic march of "Phantom Lights" and the plucked guitar of "Euclidean Plane," which somehow manages to be both cosmic and pastoral at the same time.
Those looking for a more varied or dynamic experience may be disappointed, though. It's always difficult to stave off tendencies of tedium and monotony with highly cinematic music like this (it being but one half of the cinematic experience after all), and Heat and Entropy doesn't always win the battle. There are swaths of expendability to be found, and while the album's ominously beautiful/vaguely dangerous tone is appealing, there's room for Chatwin to vary things a bit without threatening his thematic unity too much.
Heat and Entropy will appeal primarily to fans of cinematic sci-fi music, and while it's definitely good enough to pique the ears of the curious, it might be hard press to hold their attention. (Ba Da Bing!)