Chevel - Always Yours

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  • What makes so-called weightless music feel so weightless? Sonics, space and silence, was the answer that Mumdance, one of its architects, once gave. These elements are at the heart of Chevel's Always Yours, released on Mumdance and Logos' label, Different Circles. Where most of the label's catalogue has roots in UK bass or jungle, the Italian producer cut his teeth in techno with releases for heady labels like Stroboscopic Artefacts. As a result, he has a refreshing take on the weightless sound, one that reinvigorates the style while dodging its worn-out tropes. Always Yours defies genre in provocative ways, borrowing from techno's granular approach while taking risks with rhythm and arrangement. Take "Bullet"—not only do the synths have a sculptural quality, but the drums slam and the samples have real depth. Most producers aren't well-rounded enough to keep these different aspects in focus at the same time. If that covers the "sonics" that Mumdance was talking about, then where do space and silence come in? It's usually achieved through thick reverb and negative space, which inject pockets of air into the music. But some producers get so focused on tweaking the textures that their work feels less like music than a technical exercise. Not Chevel. You can hear this spatial effect in "Dem Drums," for example, but he also manages to evoke a spine-tingling mood that goes beyond pure technical wizardry. The nimbleness and mutability of Chevel's sound design is also notable. "Always Yours"'s synthesizers are rendered in such high fidelity that they feel both lifelike and deeply otherworldly. Certain tracks are a bit clinical. "Data Recovery" has a slamming rhythm, but it lacks the musical qualities that might make it memorable. "The Call" is a thought-provoking production, but its austerity makes it feel more like a club tool than an album track. Still, there's no denying the technical virtuosity of Always Yours. Just listen to the sub-bass on the title track, an earth-shaking frequency so ominous that the mind might register it as a physical threat. It would be a sensuous joy to experience on a big soundsystem.
  • Tracklist
      01. One Evening In July 02. The Call 03. Bullet 04. Arp 2600 05. Warming Bath 06. Data Recovery 07. Dem Drums 08. Underwater 09. Always Yours