Second in the Circle of Days
trilogy, recorded in 2004-7, issued via Chalk’s own private Faraway Press, each hand-dubbed by the craftsman himself, and with exquisite artwork as we've come to expect. Years of following him and we’re no closer to pinpointing what exactly Chalk's hushed musical creations are… daydreams, landscape paintings, elegies, prayers? Ever since exorcising his noisier demons as Ferial Confine in the mid-80s, his works have become – ostensibly - ever calmer and quieter, the dense dronal fog of Mirror and ORA begetting a kind of brittle, blurred, bucolic chamber-music eternally on the brink of erasure. Its ambient qualities are obvious, but it could never be dismissed as merelyambient… it has the nebulousness and restlessness of free improvisation, and despite the delicacy and pastoral prettiness of the instrumentation, there’s pain in it…Circle of Days 1, originally released as an LP in 2014, traverses high-lonesome, deathly-sparse guitar-blues a la Loren Connors or Roy Montgomery and eerily sustained keyboard nocturnes. Circle of Days 2 and Circle of Days 3, both released here for the first time, consist of recordings made between 2004-2008. They pick up the textural cues of the first volume, but also stake out ground of their own: plangent violin-drones and reverb-slathered synthscapes with an edgeless, endless quality that surely speaks to, and of, the flatlands of the Humber estuary where Chalk has lived and worked his whole life. Each tape works as a discrete entity, but there are also interconnections, recurring motifs, and a consistency of tone and mood across the three.