Bryan Chapman 7 Shadows and Iron Lungs
Published Sep 19, 2018It isn't often that an album of electronic music offers up equal portions of dance floor bliss and dark ambient virtuosity. Bryan Chapman's debut full-length 7 Shadows and Iron Lungs does that and a great deal more.
Back in July, Chapman tweeted "You only ever get to release 1 debut album. Mine is coming 24th September on my @mntymntymnty label. 7 Shadows and Iron Lungs is 11 tracks long. I've never been prouder." No false modesty required — this disc is superb.
The clever Twitter handle belongs to Chapman's Monotony label, which opened shop last year. Its advertised menu of stripped-down minimalist techno with a dash of psychedelia will be worth testing in the year ahead. By comparison though, 7 Shadows appeals to a more advanced palette.
The beats are deep and rich, but it's what surrounds them that makes the album a standout. Layers of dark-ambient synth combine with drones and distorted noise to deliver multiple pleasant (and deliberately unpleasant) surprises. "Sand," for example, is all apocalyptic grit. "7" is a low-key horror show with the kind of tension that discourages late-night listening. Speaking of scary monsters, "Cut the Kids in Half" is more than just a Halloween treat. Chapman mashes up techno and 20th century electronic music to produce one of the more interesting tracks we've heard this year.
The disc closes with "Dead Shadows," a creeping, crawling perfectly nightmarish conclusion. Chapman's one shot at a debut is a bullseye. (Monotony)