Video: Chris Herbert – “Cité Radieuse”

Posted by on October 23, 2014

I first came into contact with Chris Herbert‘s drone suites by way of Mezzontint, Herbert’s debut release on Kranky in 2006. Having never even come across the Birmingham, U.K. producer’s name or sonic signatures before, I relied on the Kranky logo printed on the slipcase to be my guide. And thank the ambient gods for that: the disc was played endlessly as an aural drift to liminal planes. Much of the pristine sound came from Herbert’s complete sense of subtlety, patience, and organic movement in sound. Sadly for me, I’d only caught one of Herbert’s three releases that followed: a handsome split 7-inch on Low Point featuring Felix on the flip-side, missing another set on Low Point and an EP on Room40. Thankfully, Herbert is now back with Constants, a new full length issued again by Room40.

Broken out into eight tracks, Constants is an ever-evolving mix of melancholic glissandos, patient but bold harmonies, and refined textures. Each track seems to simultaneously resemble a variety of approaches and producers while also coming off as pure Herbert. “Cinders” and “Sea Holly” carry a brutish movement of icey strings and lamentful chords, flowing into one another with the oceanic gestures, like Jóhann Jóhannsson on opiates, dilated in a mesmerized haze of bittersweet euphoria. “Cité Radieuse” is a more dissonant affair, a glitching and amorphous meditation on errant noise and metallic tones. Chemtrails of sound waft through the air alongside an epic “silence” of white noise. The diaphanous display is moving enough on its own, until you hear the track’s weighted underbelly. Listening to the song on headphones reveals a simmering layer of bubbling, chordal bobs and hums. The track’s video is seemingly an homage to HAL 9000, focusing on a mechanical, LED throb revealing a glitching super-computer. The circular display veers out of control, methodically smearing itself into chaos while the track’s audio subtly builds. It’s the perfect, eerie intro to the CD’s sprawling sounds. Constants is available now directly from Room40.