Saturday, 14 November 2009

Read review at Morpheus

Rhythmic and ambient electronica. Chikatetsu is a subtle album of constantly shifting emphasis - opening with a pattern of high pitched delicate notes and steady drone, the album gets under way with a sense of unhurried class. Building into a restfully throbbing bass groove this initial track features the kind of tuneful, freeform harmony and artfully layered human-artificial structures that dominate the album. Barely discernable station voices and subway sounds occasionally inhabit the somewhat abstract musical forms that run in narrative flow. Some passages have a strongly mechanical rhythm suggestive of fleeting motion - rolling sequencer forms driving light melodic phrases. Other sections reveal a jazz influence, with lustrous vibes and muted chimes dancing among the synth voices. The music features Tim Gerwing on keyboards, guitars, bass, electronics, vocals and drum programming with musicians Besart Hysniu delivering keyboards, programming, remixing, electronics, David Picking ride cymbals and Terry O'Brien guitar, guitar synths. There is often a mesmerising sense of detachment about the music as if the listener were a lonely observer among busy meandering crowds - at rest among the currents of urban activity.

Chikatetsu comes in a sharp card wallet (these really are so much nicer than jewelcases) of saturated colour. The front image is a motion blurred train caught momentarily passing through a station - broad black borders making the night-time hues appear to positively glow. The reverse holds a tube map layered upon a carriage interior - here are a series of evocative, descriptive terms that might help the potential listener to imagine something of the nature of the music. Within, the two panel sleeve holds track details on the left and additional information on the right. Instrumental and technical credits along with thanks and download details.

Born and based currently in Canada Tim Gerwing has been interested in music since early childhood. Having studied classical piano, Tim branched out to explore jazz, electronic, new age, progressive rock/pop, and Middle and Far Eastern styles. He has been releasing music as a solo artist since 2002 when his debut Being To Being was released under his own record label. This current disc contains thirteen tracks that that work around the theme of Japanese subway travel and experience. Promotional material explains Chikatetsu as 'the “underground iron”, the subway system that is the heart of public transportation in the large cities of Japan'. Further wording suggests "ambient textures -> electronic musical maps -> hyper-cultural leitmotifs -> fractal audio perspectives -> psycho-emotional sonic imagery. The beautifully designed website contains sound samples and further information if you'd like to check it out at


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