Built Through
LINE_056 | CD + Digital | edition of 500
Released: May 2012

digital available via Bandcamp

CD sold out at source
Copies available at Boomkat (UK/EU) & Forced Exposure (US)

The acoustic architecture of Robert Curgenven and Richard Chartier forms a delineation of space built through dismantling the constitution of internal and external. Beyond dividing space, creating a façade or habitable zone, the perceptibility of the surface is turned back in on itself and with it a shift in the ideological and social context of the space. A seamless integration of digital and analogue, a suffusion which creates a mutual modulation, transforming purpose chosen materials—dense, undulating foundations through to stratified filaments and needle-point framework—defining the approach, the entry, the walk-through, the departure.

1: Original composition “of surfaces–variance” from 2002’s Of Surfaces (LINE_008) by Chartier. Processed through three improvisations for a 16 foot single manual pipe organ recorded in West Penwith, Cornwall, August 2011.

2: Field recording by Curgenven from Urunga, Australia, March 2010. Digitally reprocessed/reworked by Chartier. Further processing by Curgenven through an improvisation for binaural microphones,  wine glasses, two turntables and linear series dubplate, recorded in London, October 2010.

3: Originally composed by Chartier at Garage Festival in Stralsund, Germany 2004 and Paris, France 2005. Lost, found, and reworked using digital means and field recordings by Chartier in 2011. Processed through: guitar feedback recorded by Curgenven in Milan and London in 2010; turntables and linear series dubplates recorded London 2011; field recordings from Berlin, 2004-2007.  Mixed in London and Cornwall, November 2010-July 2011.

4: Original composition “series 6” from 2000’s Series (LINE_001) by Chartier. Processed through a matrix of pieces for nine turntables, linear dubplates and ventilator, recorded in London, live in Manchester and Budapest, September-November 2010. Mixed at 4 The Field, Nancledra, Cornwall, March 2011.

Mastering: Giuseppe Ielasi, Milan, Italy, March 2012.
Thanks to: Kat McDowall, Jonny McHugh, Attila Faravelli, Andras Nun, Henry Tadros.
Cover image and text by Robert Curgenven.


a colossal yet minimalist soundscape… This is headphone music — true sound-art whose fascinating creative process is too detailed for this tiny column. - The Washington Post (US)

a visceral, engrossing exploration of "acoustic architecture" schemed by prolific sound artist, collaborator, and Line Records boss, Richard Chartier (US), and sound artist/composer Robert Curgenven (AU/UK). As inferred by the title, Built Through is focussed upon the aesthetics of space and features four pieces stemming from original source material (field recordings, older compositions) which was reprocessed/reworked by the two artists in order to further investigate theirs and our perceptions of the material's internal and extrenal spatial properties. Using seamlessly integrated analogue and digital techniques they create vividly hollowed-out spaces, stratified arenas of dense, vibrating sub-harmonic foundations suffused with filigree surface textures - from traces of distant traffic to needling, micro-rhythmic disturbances - defining the approach, the entry, the walk-through, the departure. No doubt, that all sounds rather academic, and taken as such, it is. But from a purely aesthetic point of view, their sounds are of an incredibly fine calibre and arranged with such a sense of unfolding, albeit abstract, narrative, that we're sucked in to near-extreme levels of concentration to focus on the slightest fluctuation, and sent reeling by the presence of such overpoweringly physical bass frequencies. Ultimately, what they're doing is a super advanced version of what's happening in the mind/computer/bedroom of nearly every young electronic producer looking to get the most space out of their "mixdown", and for any followers of current electronic music, design, minimalism, this is a deeply refined and engaging recommendation. - (UK)

One phrase really jumps out at me when reading over the information included with the new album from Richard Chartier & Robert Curgenven: Acoustic Architecture. That is exactly what Built Through is. Chartier and Curgenven use a multitude of processes to dissect and digest a wide range of sound. At times, they're taking apart past compositions of Chartier's and processing them 'through three improvisations for a 16 foot single manual pipe organ.' The results speak for themselves, adding new space and depth to any already impressive piece. Field recordings of Curgenven's are reworked by Chartier, contrasting digital sounds and processes with something that feels entirely organic. This is sonic engineering at its finest. There's a real delicacy to each of the four pieces on Built Through, and with each successive listen a new layer is revealed. - (US)

Much like Richard Chartier’s Recurrence, the first couple of attempts I made to listen to Built Through, I was thwarted by just how minimal it is. The combination of my power amp’s fan and the purr of my CPU and backup drive made the first three minutes or so of Built Through seem like dead air. It’s actually a reworking of Chartier’s own incredibly minimal “Of Surfaces (Variance)” from ten years ago, processed through a series of pipe organ improvisations. It sounds less like organ and more like a tense, taut layer of drones. “Displacement” progresses as a slow crescendo of surface noise, a macro zoom on a turntable stylus playing on a dubplate — all texture, starting faint and becoming more and more emphasized. The low-end that appears about halfway through is tremendous — on headphones, it’s an intense experience. it causes some crazy sensations in my skull as it undulates so deeply while the surface noise increases in intensity to complement it. The longest piece of the four, “Built Through Both Sides,” is built around recordings of Chartier’s live performance along with additional field recordings and manipulations. Curgenven’s signature sound of cyclical surface noise is also a key player in the arrangement, with a keen sense of balance between the two artists’ respective contributions. The front end is grounded perhaps most deliberately by the cyclical pattern of what I presume is one of Curgenven’s turntable plates, a looping circular rhythm that becomes meditative over time. Through deliberate pacing, the tone shifts from this rhythmic pulse to a much more tense series of tones. A few unexpected field recordings rush in here and there, but otherwise it’s this unreleased tension of Chartier’s drones combined with Curgenven’s techniques at the heart of the piece and the album. The final piece is Chartier’s own “Series 6” (from the 2000 release Series, which Chartier also used as inspiration and source material for Recurrence), reused and manipulated through Curgenven’s own rig of nine turntables. It’s far less severe than the original, sharing the deep bass hum of the rest of this release along with the reliable added layer of surface noise and texture. It’s difficult to fully articulate what makes the release so satisfying, but it ranks high for me even based on Line’s usual excellent quality control. The contrast of minimalism to thoughtful detail in each of its segments, particularly on headphones with the volume raised, makes Built Through an impressive body of work from two already reputable artists. Highly recommended! - Ear Influxion (US)

Built Through, ... from Robert Curgenven and Richard Chartier on LINE, a sound platform actually curated by Chartier himself, is, simply described, analogue and digital noise given feeling. Such a collaboration was always going to create evocative ripples, but the understated waves that this release creates in the listener is a sign that the current ‘microsound’ movement cannot be dismissed as simply avant- noise, but is in fact potentially the next evolutionary stage for those striving for more from their music - be that emotion, connection to the artist, or merely a more challenging listening.
Coming in at just under an hour long, this record is one that must be listened to alone, or with a loved one, and loud. The reason for the volume is to catch every nuance in the understated music, and to create the sense of intimacy that both artists usually only evoke in their sound installations, cradled in the calm, reflective world of the gallery or artist’s space - perhaps alluded to in the clean, slow fade from white to grey of the album’s cover.
‘Invariance Strata’, the first of the four recordings, is actually a re-work of one of Chartier’s compositions from 2002, layered and processed through three improvisations for a 16 foot manual pipe organ. Perhaps the most akin to the current ‘ambient’ scene in its sounds, this colossus of a track presents the listener with the doorway to Curgenven and Chartier’s soundscapes and takes on each other’s work. Accompanined only by the hiss and crackle, this is a track that could have been created by Shinobu Nemoto (AKA ‘Summons of Shining Ruins’), if he swapped his signature guitar for organ.
Second track ‘Displacement’ begins to show the nature of the pair’s collaboration proper. Consisting of Curgenven’s field recordings, which have been reworked once by Chartier and then again by Curgenven via an improvisation of turntables, linear series dubplate and a pair of wine glasses, one is treated to the slow digitalisation of organic structures, which are then themselves broken-down into raw static, and minimal, analogue tones.
‘Built Through Both Sides’, arguably the summit of the release overall, features much of the same instrumentation as ‘Displacement’, yet with added guitar feedback, creating an image analogous with the progressive nature of the record - that of the aftermath of a noise concert in its current, recognised form - everything that comes after which being uncharted musical territory. This notion is further reinforced by the labyrinthian “matrix” of pieces on nine turntables that is revealed in final track ‘Aquisition Eviction’. Although the sounds themselves aren’t complex, that the track comes from the mashing up of nine individual pieces could be said to be an image of future music’s taking and reworking of existing material, recreating past compositions anew.
As previously stated, this album is one wherein less is more, and static takes on an emotional significance - a feat that few could achieve. Worth many an intimate listen. - (UK)

Built Through is an aesthetic album that consists of four tranquil compositions. Almost one hour of sensibly developing sounding trajectories will guide the listener through latent and flowing ambience. The Chartier’s idealogy about the relationship between sound, silence, focus and the act of listening in this masterwork is completely implemented. Accurate micro processing gently controls the static atmospheres cluster and doesn’t let them to get dull. Subtle oscillating extremely low tones and stimulating dense noise in the lower background expand the depth and listening range of the compositions. By carefully including skilfully shaped sine wave layers a sublime musical architecture is being extracted. Thoughtful and frequent resonanse and volume level imbalance between sounds enrich the music color palette. Variable sound devices effects and live-recordings in the upper layer convert entirety into a valuable model how the intellectual music should be fully designed.
Built Through is like a picturesque galaxy's collision somewhere in a distant corner of the universe; it collides so gracefully that creates more bigger and richer cosmic infrastructure. - (LI)

God, I'm sat here in the baking heat in my room listening to this tranquil baby. The second track is particularly relevant to my near-immolated state being the sound of electronic crickets-on-crack chirruping excitedly, undercut with a deep gradually escalating tonal throb reminiscent of Eleh. Oh, and then the crickets fade into loads of delicious digital scrunch and static. Intense and involving.
I think there's some nice vinyl crackles on the next piece with the static sound of bristling bushes in the night breeze whilst ambling  through deserted park at dusk. There's always the cerebral shimmering android lullaby tine pulsing underneath to keep you company at this ponderous juncture in your life. I'm maybe not academically clever enough to truly understand the conceptual nature of this CD but I love Chartier's stuff, I find him a really absorbing listen and Curgenven, who I'm less familiar with is obviously bringing the best out of him on this four track collaboration - (UK)

It all remains steadily quiet, inoffensively restrained and yet beautifully fragile. If the general structure of the pieces is droning, the layers are gauzily thin, wispy transparent sheets allowing even the slightest sounds to peer through. - The Wire (UK)

Line est propulsé sur les radars à l'orée du XXIe siècle sous l'impulsion de l'artiste sonore Richard Chartier. La première référence du label estSeries, un disque où l'on peut déjà entendre l'electronica millimétrique et minimale de l'Américain se frayer un chemin vers le futur de la musique. Tel un véritable curateur, Chartier n'a eu de cesse depuis de documenter le dialogue entre la musique électronique et l'art contemporain, mais surtout de défricher les territoires de ce qu'on pourrait appeler l'extrême-minimal, le minimalisme du confin du spectre sonore, et ce, en publiant outre ses propres travaux, l’œuvre de compositeurs majeurs dans le domaine (Bernhard Günter, Asmus Tietchens, Steve Roden…etc). En 2012, Richard Chartier apporte la preuve que son label est toujours le poste avancé de cet extrême minimalisme sur la mappemonde des musiques contemporaines. On pourra écouter sa dernière pièce solo pour s'en convaincre (Transparency (Performance)). On pourra aussi se réjouir de la récente parution de Built Through qu'il produit en collaboration avecRobert Curgenven. Souvenez-vous, on avait découvert cet Australien d'origine en 2010 sur Line, grâce à Oltre, un recueil de recombinaisons acoustiques/numériques de haute tenue. Richard Chartier ne pouvait rêver d'un meilleur partenaire de jeu et nous, d'une affiche aussi alléchante.
Built Through décline sur quatre titres, quatre pièces conçues en laboratoire, les manipulations sonores déjà entendues sur Oltre. Les deux albums ont en commun d'être le lieu d'un achoppement permanent entre différentes sources sonores parfois antagonistes (ici, compositions antérieures de Richard Chartier, field recordings, instruments conventionnels et objets détournés). Certaines sont de nature analogique, d'autres numériques mais cette opposition n'est jamais figée. Au contraire, la limite entre l'analogique et le digital, la réalité et sa synthèse, est extrêmement poreuse et le doute est permanent quant à l'origine et la véritable nature des sons que l'on perçoit alors qu'ils passent sans cesse par une série de métamorphose. Au fond, cette explosion du vocabulaire de la musique contemporaine importe peu. Ce n'est qu'un moyen pour Chartier et Curgenven de traiter le matériau sonore, de contrarier sa destination et d'en bouleverser les perspectives à l'infini. Les deux hommes alignent donc drones souterrains, field recordings en friche, murs de basses, et écrans de parasites pour accoucher d'un univers artificiel fourmillant de courbes et de sinusoïdes. Un univers de données à jamais castré, à jamais séparé de la réalité : une surface fluide et réfléchissante où l'on est libre de se perdre comme dans un labyrinthe. Définitivement, faire dialoguer l'analogique et le digital n'est pas une fin en soi pour Robert Curgenven et Richard Chartier, et pourtant ils opèrent en la matière avec une précision chirurgicale et un sens de la composition assez impressionnant. Si les vingt-cinq minutes de Built Through Both Side ne révèlent pas leur richesse immédiatement, une pièce comme Invariance Strata sonne avec plus d'évidence. Et pour cause, elle condense d'entrée de jeu tout ce qui fait la force de leur entreprise, sa pure transparence et son attirante complexité.
Built Through combine constamment l'allégresse de la construction architecturale et la séduction vénéneuse du design sonore. Parler de textures ou de géométrie devient une hérésie. La notion même de structure est renversée sur elle-même : l'espace physique ou sonore devient mental et semble même disparaître dans la beauté immaculée de l'abstraction digitale. En fait, Built Through se tient là où le paysage sous toutes ses formes devient information pure, où sa matérialité concrète et observable, son imperfection congénitale, s'exorcise dans le virtuel. Alors, cette musique-objet qui déjoue constamment la matière sonore au gré de ses recombinaisons successives finit paradoxalement par dévoiler, à travers la virtuosité de son exécution, tout le romantisme de son intention. - (ES)

Mucho más convencional (siempre según la escala Line) es “Built through”, un disco en el que nuestro hombre se alía con el turntablista Robert Curgenven para dar forma a cuatro piezas de desarrollo pausado y mucha pureza de sonido, que evolucionan de manera delicada y sutil, dejándose contaminaraquí y allá con poluciones sonoras inesperadas. Algo que resulta particularmente visible en “Built through both sides”, una pieza que actúa como eje vertebral del disco, y que muestra tanto sus virtudes (esa pureza de la que hablábamos más arriba) como sus defectos: la falta de diferenciación respecto a otros títulos del género. - GoMag (ES)

Si uno no tuviera ningún conocimiento acerca de lo en cierto modo se está enfrentando, podría pensar que esto es un engaño, un truco del silencio. Comienza a sonar en el reproductor el primero de sus tracks y, sin embargo, lo que se supone que es no es. El ruido no es tal, es el no sonido. No obstante, si se tiene un poco de conocimiento acerca de quienes son los responsables, ya debiera saber el campo por el que se esta transitando, y lo que ello conlleva: eso es, paciencia y espera. El tiempo, para ellos, avanza de manera diferente, más lenta que lo que se supone que debiera ser. Ha sido así, y seguirá siendo así: su terreno es la música de paisajes de una blancura transparente. Robert Curvegen es un australiano nacido en 1974 y radicado en Cornwall, que trabaja con diversos elementos como vinilos customizados, guitarras y grabaciones de campo, pasados por un filtro que los hace perderse en el tiempo y en el espacio. Chartier, por su parte, ya es conocido en estas páginas, un artista inclinado a captar el ruido en su forma menos audible, planteando casi siempre desafíos a los límites de la percepción, sea en su propia obra, como en la de curador de esa entidad llamada Line, su plataforma de arte sonoro.
Este trabajo, “Built Through”, es la primera reunión en formato físico, un disco hecho de retazos y que implica una multitud de procesos para generar eso que se llama la superficie del ruido. “La arquitectura acústica de Robert Curgenven y Richard Chartier forma una delimitación del espacio construido a través del desmantelamiento de la constitución de lo interno y externo. Más allá de la división del espacio, creando una zona de fachada o de habitabilidad, la perceptibilidad de la superficie se vuelve sobre sí misma y con ello un cambio en el contexto ideológico y social del espacio”. En casi una hora de viaje a través de la manipulación de ondas que flotan en el aire, ambos aristas edifican piezas que nacen de pedazos recogidos, trasmutados por medio de una técnica que varía de un momento a otro, de una pieza a otra, y aún dentro de ella misma. Cuatro tracks conforman esta ‘Construcción a través de’, las cuatro igualmente sugestivas desde su perspectiva, la de la ocultación y el murmullo más mínimo. “Invariance Strata” tiene su principio en “Of Surfaces (Variance)”, originalmente en “Of Surfaces” (Line, 2002), pero procesada través de tres improvisaciones de un órgano de tubos de 16 pies, registrado en el oeste de Penwith, Cornwall, en agosto de 2010. Trece minutos en que, como relataba al comienzo, pueden llegar a confundir: ningún movimiento en sus momentos iniciales que derivan en una calma de polvo microscópico, sobre un manto de electrónica sutil sobre la que emergen imperfecciones de tamaño insignificante, provienentes de fuentes acústicas pero que aparentan no serlo, sino que, por el contrario, suena casi más sintético que las raíces maniobradas. “Displacement” es un field recording de Uruonga, Australia, trabajado digitalmente por Chartier, posteriormente procesado por Curvegen a través de una improvisación para micrófonos binaurales, copas de vino, dos tornamesas. El susurro de especies vivas contrasta con unas manchas por el final del camino, suciedad por entre el silicio, presagio de “Built Through Both Sides”, la pieza central compuesta originalmente por Chartier, luego perdida, encontrada y vuelta a trabajar con medios digitales y grabaciones de campo por el mismo Chartier. Más tarde procesada a través de feedback de guitarra grabada por Curgenven, tornamesas y grabaciones de campo. Un largo transito de Stralsund, París, Milán y Berlín, de Europa a América y vuelta a su origen. Rastros perdidos de piezas que se desvían de su itinerario en veinticinco minutos en los que se puede apreciar toda su distancia, nuevamente desde la tranquilidad, perturbada en el inicio con ese ruido como de una fábrica abandonada y operada por fantasmas, retomada en su ecuador, vuelta a perturbar con zumbidos minúsculos y persistentes, con pequeños quiebres en la delgada superficie de hielo en donde se sustenta su visión de la música: es esta la que posee una mayor presencia de ritmo, pero arrinconado por la atronadora presencia de mutismo. Finalmente, “Acquisition Eviction” brota de otra pieza de Chartier, “Series 6”, de“Series” (Line, 2000), procesados a través de una matriz de nueve piezas para tocadiscos, dubplates lineales y un ventilador. Y es acá, por razones extrañas, en donde mi impresión no da más. Antes de leer nada acerca de este trabajo, tuve un sueño acerca de un film que se desarrollaba en Washington, la ciudad de Chartier. En él ocurrían una serie de situaciones que mi memoria no recuerda muy bien. Sin embargo, una de ellas permanece muy claro: en una pequeña librería tenía lugar una presentación del norteamericano. Chartier comenzaba a tocar, y lo hacía sentado en el suelo, manipulando una serie de artefactos, y uno de ellos era precisamente un ventilador. Me pareció extraño en un comienzo, al despertar, el soñar tan particular performance. Ahora, a pesar que no fue el quien se ocupó de interpretar a ese ventilador, de todas maneras me parece una extraña coincidencia. Como sea, realidad o no, tan callado como suelen ser mis sueños, tan callado como es la música, esta vez una especie de lluvia nocturna impregnada de estática, con capas plegadas como si fueran una sola, colisionando entre sí , formando una hermosa y delicada tela de pequeños estallidos.
Entradas y salidas de ruta, pérdidas y encuentros, desplazamientos en el espacio en una expedición a través del ruido y sus manipulaciones, en procesos que desfiguran el sonido, permaneciendo en el equilibrio de la tranquilidad. “La arquitectura acústica de Robert Curgenven y Richard Chartier forma una delimitación del espacio construido a través del desmantelamiento de la constitución de lo interno y externo”. Eso es “Built Through”, la reconstrucción del sonido a partir de unir sus partículas desperdigadas, transformaciones en la superficie del ruido estable y la destrucción del mismo. - Hawái (Chile)

Con Built Through, invece, si rientra nell'alveo delle produzioni precedenti di Chartier: il lavoro, congegnato a quattro mani con Robert Curgenven, prosegue nell'idea dell'esplorazione degli intermundia acustici che separano i suoni discreti, al confine dell'inudibile, nella mappatura delle nuance impercettibili ad orecchio nudo, ma intelligibili ad alti volumi o in cuffia. Domina un senso panico di intimismo, di quiete assoluta, ed ogni rilievo sonoro si manifesta in maniera scultorea come una nuova scoperta. E' un'architettura sonora molto complessa, quella costruita dal duo Curgenven-Chartier, che utilizza una serie di processi diversi per sezionare e re-distribuire nello spazio acustico un vasto campionario di suoni. La base di partenza è data da una serie di vecchie composizioni per organo a canna di Chartier, manipolate e intersecate da Curgenven con alcune registrazioni ambientali, sulle quali interviene il processing digitale di Chartier, in una prospettiva di moltiplicazione di livelli che tende verso il grado zero della materia acustica. Ingegneria del suono nell'accezione più pregnante del termine, per la costruzione di un piccolo saggio di minimalismo digitale. - Blow Up (Italy)

Oscillating at the border of silence this musical experiment allows us to eavesdropping of the air. The air vibrates, fills the space for flying insects and our breaths. The air reflects from the elements. Various objects which have contact with the air can make noise. This air streams into the tracheas, larynxes of the instruments that we can later hear. -

Par le biais de Built Through,Richard Chartier me présente l’Australien Robert Curvengen. L’homme est charismatique et son travail (beaucoup de field recordings à son actif) est sans nul doute à découvrir.  Built Through, c’est de la musique. C’est aussi de l’architecture – le rapprochement est souvent galvaudé mais ici je crois que musique et architecture vont vraiment de pair. Un long silence blanc parcourt d’abord la pièce, puis c’est le tour d’une electronica sensible (qui peut prendre différentes apparences : un drone à deux têtes, des sons cachés en coussins d’air, des field recordings qui se fondent dans les paysages de Chartier). Built Through, c’est de la musique, de l’architecture, du paysage, et on s’y sent bien. - le son du grisli (FR)

Robert Curgenven (b.1974) suffuses immense fields of constantly shifting sound with an elegant tactility and mesmerizing detail. His compelling work spans immersive resonances via turntables and custom-made vinyl, instrumental harmonics and guitar feedback, to carefully detailed field recordings from remote areas in which he lived for many years. Drawing on the physicality of sound – and not just the physical impact on the body but the way in which the auditory can shape our perception of space and the flow of time – The Wire surmises that “behind the music—to these ears at any rate—lurk such [disparate] presences as Alvin Lucier, King Tubby, Murray Schafer and Eliane Radigue.”
Curgenven has performed throughout Australia and Europe. He has presented sound, audiovisual and sculptural work in group exhibitions including Transmediale (Berlin) and 10 Years of Microsound (Diapason Gallery, New York) as well as galleries throughout Australia, Italy, France, Poland, UK and Germany including solo work at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Torun (Poland). His 2010 album, Oltre, a documentation of two months of live concerts across Europe in 2009, was announced by Boomkat as “The best LINE release in ages.”

Richard Chartier (b.1971), sound and installation artist, is considered one of the key figures in the current of reductionist electronic sound art which has been termed both “microsound” and Neo-Modernist. Chartier’s minimalist digital work explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception and the act of listening itself. Chartier’s sound works/installations have been presented in galleries and museums internationally and he has performed his work live across Europe, Japan, Australia, and North America at digital art/electronic music festivals and exhibits. In 2000 he formed the recording label LINE and has since curated its continuing documentation of compositional and installation work by international sound artists/composers exploring the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism. In 2010 he was awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.