impasse #1 (2010) 3" cd-r

impasse #1 (2010)
three-inch cd-r, edition of 75 copies.
1 track, 14 minutes
released september 2010



Following their five CDR releases, Finnish Chemins decided to work towards their real first CD. They are a band of improvised music using guitar, drums and electronics, and play great textured music. It seems that recording their first CD isn't an easy task and the band has had some 'failed' attempts and they started all over again. But not all they recorded was bad, so they release 'Impasse #1', with some of the material they recorded. This is certainly not bad material at all. All the usual Chemins elements are present: sustaining notes on the guitar, carefully placed bleeps, deep bass like laptop sounds and bits of percussion, carefully building up towards crescendo around the ten minute break and slowly dying out with a meandering guitar. A small, yet very refined piece of music. Nothing like an impasse, me thinks. (Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 751)

At last, they are no longer faceless, or at least this Finnish bunch has a representative, M. Heinonen. Finally they are someone. Not that a listeners experience is changed at all by attachment to identity, but as a sense of correspondence it pleased me no end.
This ep, which is neither a continuation of the CDR series, nor a preview of a forthcoming album in 2011, it represents its namesake, an experiment, a series of turns on ideas, leading to an impasse. It at the very least suggests a destination, or the idea of a path towards, but that form of expression can be at the least formulaic at the most prescient, depending on your outlook.
It opens with a static switch start, warm synth, and jagged attack electricity, added tonal layers and tuned static. Bringing in waves of solid sound held in the air, then brief guitar displays. They get the sound humming and a sense of shape or direction, but it may be only moving between phrases that give it this sense. A strict reading of sound as non representative mays reduce all utterances to sonic forms without any semantic meaning, but that is not where the music leads you. Seven minutes in, the palette becomes full; ideas stream together and assault the ear, modulated plink plonk, harsh static, sharp disjunctive tones. Certainly if you were of the idea to destroy all rational thought this could be your soundtrack, then it melts into a melodic electronic keyboard section which could be described as delightful, or perhaps the assault merely primed appreciation of a gentler world, it moves towards finale with the residue of the static extinguishing slowly. (Innerversitysound / Cyclic Defrost, 27.11.2010)

"Chemin" - a path, a lane, a winding country road. Leading somewhere but not for anyone in any hurry.
Finland's Chemins has five self-released, three-inch CDRs all featuring terrific cover art - and I mean "art" - to its credit, a series apparently issued as a kind of housecleaning of material recorded between 2003-09. Now that the cupboard is bare and the cobwebs cleared from the head, Chemin is reportedly at work on a full-length album. Whether Impasse #1 is a taster or a brief statement of intent is not known.
"Impasse" serves as an apt description of the brief piece. A cold shower of steely falling stars is overtaken by a warm bass oscillation. A delicate, almost zen guitar interlude is overcome by irregular but somehow friendly drumming which swells into a tsunami of non-corrosive noise. It recedes. All is still.

Impasse #1 moves from cold to warm, warm to cold, cold to warm. This might give the impression that it leaps from mood to mood, but instead, it is more like strolling through a gallery, taking in a series of paintings which are different, all painted from the same palette, but applied in varying textures. (Stephen Fruitman, Sonomu, 28.12.2010)

Après une superbe série de mini CDR, nous étions en attente d’un album annoncé pour 2011. Surprise alors de voir apparaitre ce nouveau mini CD dont le titre semble annoncer une nouvelle série. Impasse porte parfaitement son titre puisqu’il s’agit de travaux devant lesquels le groupe s’est trouvé bloqué, alors que les musiciens travaillaient sur l’album à venir. Ils décidèrent alors de recommencer depuis le début, mais aussi de sortir cet enregistrement avorté, documentant ainsi leur trajectoire vers l’album, avec ses erreurs d’orientation.

Certainement comme vous en lisant ces lignes, nous nous sommes dit sur le coup que nous allions écouter des chutes de studio, des sessions lives, des bribes d’improvisations... Le drone profond qui ouvre le disque, un peu sourd mais de toute beauté, aura vite fait de nous rassurer sur la nature de cette production, parfaitement aboutie. Le groupe reste cohérent avec ses précédentes sorties, délivrant ici une piste unique d’un quart d’heure, mêlant avec harmonie acoustique et électronique, composition et improvisation, bruit et mélodies, rage et poésie.
Les drones se voient parsemés d’interjections électroniques, craquements, déchirements, bruit blanc, crissements, sur fond de frétillements métalliques et puissant. Comme à leur habitude, les finlandais enchaînent divers travaux et méthodes, passant d’une guitare répétitive et apaisée à des percussions improvisées, évoluant petit à petit vers un bruitisme électronique et crépitant pour s’achever dans la douceur d’une lente et timide mélodie de clavier, ponctuée de lointains chuintements et sifflements.
Peut-être une impasse dans le cadre de la composition d’un album, cette production fait ici figure d’un superbe EP qui ne décevra pas les amateurs de ce talentueux groupe finlandais.
(Fabrice Allard, EtherREAL, 12.2.2011)

One of the recent high points of writing Wonderful Wooden Reasons has been being one of the recipients of the CDR series of releases by this fantastic Finnish ensemble.
This mini-CDR is an involuntary beginning of a new project from the group prompted by an unexpected musical impasse during the recording of their debut full length album.
The 14 minutes of music represents a journey that touches on many of the areas their previous releases have visited. The music rolls smoothly from one texture to the next with only the change at 5:02 feeling forced. The rest represents yet another beautifully somnolent piece of music from this collective. (Ian Holloway, Wonderful Wooden Reasons)