Electronic music, world influences, and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia stories come together on Dawn Treader, the latest offering from Chronotope Project and his first as a member of the Spotted Peccary lineup. I mention that last bit as SP has built a reputation around offering big, cinematic music with a strong emotional undercurrent, and Chronotope Project’s sound and style are a perfect fit. (In the title track, which kicks off the album, I pick up a bit of phrasing that instantly triggers thoughts of Helpling and Jenkins.) The worlds we are shown here are diverse and engaging, most working off a very effective framework of repeated motifs. “Canticle for the Stars” is a great example, utilizing the sharp repetition of sequencer to lay down the pattern, then washing over it with classic spacemusic pads. A pleasantly familiar piece. “Basho’s Journey” uses the crisp snap of koto for both its framework and its flavor. Initially I felt that said flavor may have been laid on a bit thickly, but since I always find myself lost in the track and thinking thoughts of 80s New Age artist Azuma, I’ve come to let it go. Quiet flute courses through the track as well, like an expressive, slowly moving dancer. Allen goes fantastically deep on “Ocean of Subtle Flames,” with more rich flute lines for an organic edge, whisper-soft drones forming the background, and a very quietly burbling sequencer line. Another familiar piece that, when I’m not totally adrift in it, leaves me trying to figure out what it reminds me of. But, again, better to just let go and go with it.
Dawn Treader is yet another superb step forward in the evolution of Chronotope Project, and another great addition to the Spotted Peccary roster. Allen is an outstanding composer. His work rewards a good deep listen with shows of thoughtful structure and complexity. A flavorful and thoroughly enjoyable set of pieces, and a must-hear.
Available from Spotted Peccary.