Listencorp review image of 1000 faces by whettman chelmets

1000 Faces

Whettman Chelmets


Liam Murphy

July 18, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Whettman Chelmets returns, bringing him with him fine synth notes that ease their way toward the listener. A deadened bass…

Whettman Chelmets returns, bringing him with him fine synth notes that ease their way toward the listener. A deadened bass drum hits, a steady pace; fairly swift for the ambient master from Missouri. The synths continue to curl inwards, joined by a charged bass that moves upwards and downwards in a calculated fashion. The track builds a euphoria that restrains itself, Whettman sending ghosts of guitar notes glittering across the horizon. It feels like those first few steps away from the real world, as the subject that is set upon by the sounds moves from the physical into a place not so tangible. They are greeted by airy movements that defy a definitive construct.

Call to Help represents the jump into a chasmlike world. Devoid of gravity, we hop from one swelling sound to the next. Squares of arpeggiated sound flash around us, a sense of artificiality in the midst of untethered sonic catharsis. From here the sounds turn more modular. Synth notes squeak and jerk with an analogue sensibility. It feels as though Whettman Chelmets is taking steps into a more electronic sound, as his last few projects have been characterised by the use of organic ambience. The arpeggiating squares shuffle and reconfigure in front of us once again, their simplicity contrasting the great waves of sound that disappear only to burst forth toward the very end.

Through Mentors undoubtedly introduces this idea of the becoming of the hero mentioned in the EP’s liner notes. There’s a sense of determination and challenge. Ghostly keys float up to meet twinkling electronic notes. Each group of notes pushes out further into a dull and unclear space, the only sense of clarity coming from the repetition of the synthetic guitar riff that interjects sharply and incidentally at points.

Guarded Threshold maintains the tension. An austere tone carries through the first minute or so, as gentle choral-sounding notes begin to breach the surface of sound. Like a beam of light sifting through a deep dark trench, a group of notes begins to emerge. These followed by an epic melody fighting through the nothingness somewhere in the distance. Whettman contracts his penchant for wide-open soundscapes, moving quickly but no less effectively than usual. He plots beautiful melodious refrains deep within the swirling atmosphere of sound.

Tinkling pianos signal the start of Road of Trials. A trio of notes creating a beautiful sense of journeying through the unknown, with nods to emotive instrumental music like that of the likes of Mogwai’s early work. Just as we reach toward the midway point, a contrast begins to sear into the periphery of the track. A clear drum track accompanied by a high-pitched effervescent organ comes searing through the murky clouds. The two sides of the track stand almost against each other, vying for supremacy. But as they continue to both travel along their paths, they cross over more than once. Here Whettman Chelmets sends a thundering string sound, with a note that binds the two together in a powerful embrace. They soar side by side.

Boon of Ordeals brings us into what feels like an actual setting for the first time. There seems to be a hum of life and vitality in the air, the gentle caressing of nearby chimes as those emotive notes from Road of Trials continues to provide a foundation. A droning the like the incessant pestering of bluebottle flies comes and goes every now and then. We reach the end of a short yet dramatic path. The hero’s journey coming to an uncertain end. If a victory has been reached, its one that divvies up feelings of positivity and pain fairly even-handedly. The buzzing of pests infers the loss of life, rotted away over time. Yet this nucleus of emotion carried through to the end conveys a catharsis of good over evil.

1000 Faces presents Whettman Chelmets’ work at its most universally palatable. All of the beautiful swaying and triumph of his work condensed into tracks of a more classically commercial length. This runtime does not hinder his talent at creating emotion and atmosphere, it somehow bolsters it. The tracks of the album are ablaze with emotion and a spark of the sublime. A truly engaging listen as the artist continues to deliver incredibly affecting music and breath taking sonic journeys.