I’ve become familiar with Tim Risher’s music through his work with Paragaté and Claus Gahrn, but was not aware that until this release, he had not done anything solo. On The Cracked Chimes, Risher twists and folds bell sounds into innovative forms, mixing them with piano, field recordings, and more to present pieces that range from “techno” (his quotes, not mine) to borderline dark ambient. It’s a good mix of sounds and sensations, eleven quick vignettes clocking in at just over 45 minutes. As with his collaborative works, Risher’s focus is always on sonic textures, the mix of rough and smooth, familiar and hard-to-place. “Caldera” stretches the bell tones into resonating harmonics that retain a sharp metallic edge as they swell and fade; Risher places them over a gurgle of oddly echoing secondary sounds, and so gives us the dichotomy. On “Ivory,” sampled piano notes knock into one another with an almost random feel (which, of course, isn’t). The sounds gather build over a long, underlying drone and the song hiding inside it eventually becomes somewhat clear. The title track, naturally, is altered bells and chimes, but here there is very little recognizability. The flow turns uncertain and dark, or at least a little ominous, a mass of sound ringing (no pun intended) in your ears. One sound-set comes out as a clip-clop percussive element marking time; Risher snaps it off at the very end, and effectively creates a very disorienting feel. The sudden silence is potent. The “techno” tracks are pretty straightforward. “Fissure,” with Paragaté cohort Tom DePlonty, is a bass-end, percussion-driven pulse that makes use of drop-outs and sequencing. “Fluctuations,” which kicks off the disc, is a churning, almost tribal piece, but in a sort of diesel-powered, steampunk sort of way. All in all, The Cracked Chimes is an interesting set of experimental works that show how Risher creates a catalog of new sounds out of similar sources, then carves out fresh, individual spaces in which to express them.
Available at Bandcamp.