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John Chantler

John Chantler is a musician and organiser living in Stockholm, Sweden. He mostly works with synthesizers and electronics to create unpredictable, highly dynamic music where passages of spare, alien beauty bridge distorted washes of masses harmonics.

Originally from Australia he spent a decade in London before moving to Sweden where he directs a small annual festival for 'other music' in Stockholm called Edition. The 'Fifth Edition' is provisionally scheduled for early August 2020.

Chantler has performed in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, North America and across Europe including appearances at Akousma, Montreal; Madeira Dig; +90db Festival, Rome; Issue Project Room, NYC; and London’s Southbank Centre.

His work has been commissioned by Borealis Festival for Experimental Music in Bergen, Norway; Organ for the Senses, San Diego, USA; ElbPhilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany and Tectonics, Glasgow, UK. Chantler has also been artist-in-residence at the ZKM centre for media arts in Karlsruhe, Germany and NOTAM in Oslo, Norway.

www.inventingzero.net

Featured releases

Building on nearly a decade of friendship, with an evolving creative partnership spanning roughly half that time, Swedish/Australian synthesist, John Chantler, and Danish saxophonist, Johannes Lund, return with Andersabo, their second outing as a duo.An intricate, thrillingly unbridled blast of carefully controlled sonic anarchy, pushing at the perceptual boundaries of conversant sound, Andersabo captures the collision of two sympathetic, but often radically different, creative pursuits - Chantler’s subtle complexity, composing for electronics, modular synthesis, and acoustic instruments, and Lund’s full tilt constructions for various saxophones, pointedly defying long standing expectations and syntaxes applied to his chosen instrument — in open dialog with landscape beyond.Recorded during the summer of 2019, while the duo were on a residency in rural Sweden, the LP’s three works present a radical rethinking of aural collectivism. Each is a space within which the environment and its many actors — the floorboards of a barn, a grassy field, distant hills, insects, the pulse of an electric fence, or a passing tractor, threaded with the tones and responses of Lund’s saxophone and Chantler’s pump organ and synth — are given equal presence and voice. A clear, conceptual extension of both artists’ long standing pursuits of collaboration and the building of context, whether creatively or as facilitators, notably via Chantler’s Edition Festival in Stockholm, and Lund’s work within the Danish community as a founder of the legendary space, Mayhem. Andersabo represents a rigorously forward thinking rendering of utopian sound, inextricable from the joy, playfulness, and humour with which it was made. Two artist bound by friendship, dramatically opening the sense of creative possibility for the next.A poignant reminder that art and its making, as serious as it is, can be thrilling, adventurous, and fun, the album’s opener, Back of the House, weaves an immersive and emotive tapestry of dancing texture and tone where the identity of generative sources flutter in and out of view, stripped of hierarchy. Shifting gears with the final minutes of the first side of the LP, Open Field & Forest packs a remarkable density into its length. Long, harmonic tones of a pump organ fall within a cavernous landscape, captured from beyond the farmhouse walls, its breadth riddled with unplaceable rumbles, clatters, and chirps, giving way as the animalistic howl of saxophone takes hold. With Under Barn Floor, stretching across the entirety of the LP’s second side, Chantler and Lund depart into a gripping, abstract portrait of time and place. Playfully pushing at the conceptual boundaries of drone, the hand of the artists rise and fall as the low frequencies of the bass saxophone and Chantler’s synthesized organ tones are challenged with interventions of insect sounds and countless, happenstance incidents, dancing with electronically generated images of themselves. A journey toward the future, locked within a discrete moment in time, which culminates as a collective intervention between voice, geography, ideas, and chance. An unpredictable bridge between acoustic and electronic composition and field recording, Andersabo offers a remarkable image of the rewards found through friendship, community, and uninhibited experimentation.   --- Johannes Lund / bass saxophoneJohn Chantler / synthesizer, pump organ --- Recorded by John Chantler and Johannes Lund, August 2019 on location at ANDERSABO, Sweden. Residency graciously hosted by Jason Dungan.Open Field & Forest and Under Barn Floor were mixed by John Chantler at The Royal College of Music (KMH) and Silence is Golden in Stockholm. Back of The House was mixed by Stephan Mathieu at Schwebung Mastering who also mastered the record. Vinyl was cut by Andreas 'LUPO' Lubich and pressed at Pallas.With support from Koda's Cultural Funds.

John Chantler & Johannes Lund – Andersabo

"Atlantis is an exhilarating listen, equally thanks to its fierce free jazz and brightly textural abstraction" Antonio Poscic, The WIRE, Feb 2020 Following closely on the heels of his ravishing solo album Tomorrow is Too Late, Stockholm-based synthesist and improviser John Chantler switches gears to unleash the stunning second album by his trio with saxophonist Seymour Wright and drummer Steve Noble, Atlantis. Chantler is well-known for his solo electronic work, which frequently explodes richly layered ambient soundscapes into visceral explosions and thrilling physicality, to say nothing of his imaginative experimentation with the organ, heard in radically transformed mode on the recent solo recording. But Chantler is equally invested in real-time improvisation and he’s developed a dazzling rapport and sound world with Wright and Noble, two of England’s most distinctive, active, and turbulent figures in spontaneous music over the last couple of decades. The pair has worked together in numerous contexts over the years, but it took Chantler to create an ongoing context for them, and since forming in 2017 the trio’s rigour and level of communication have steadily expanded.“My fantasy idea in the beginning when I wanted to do this trio was thinking about taking Derek Bailey’s role in the Topography of the Lungs trio,” he says, referring to the classic 1970 album with Evan Parker and Han Bennink. “That’s not what happened, but that was my way of imagining how I could make the synthesizer have the kind of range and ability to both comment on stuff and guide and push in certain ways, like Derek did in that group. That remains a kind of ambition even if aesthetically it doesn’t feel very close to that, but that’s how I first thought about what my role would be.” Indeed, Chantler serves as a pesky interrogator, his serrated tones and viscous globules cutting through the kinetic din dished out by Wright and Noble, and on the new album his integration is more fully realised to the point where it’s often impossible to decipher where the output of one musician ends—the sibilant bowed cymbals of Noble or the feedback-laced lines of Wright—and the pushback of another begins.The album was cut and mixed in a single day with in-house engineer Janne Hansson at Stockholm’s legendary Atlantis Studio, a facility made famous by the chart-topping albums recorded there by Abba in the 1970s, when the place was known as Metronome. Prior to entering the studio the trio spent an exhausting, all-in week rehearsing at the arts space Fylkingen—where they also played a show—in addition to playing a handful of gigs in Norway. Locked in, they discovered much different acoustic qualities at Atlantis from what they’d previously encountered. “There’s a very specific sound at the studio, and we’d been playing for a week together at Fylkingen, so we started to develop a thing that really works in that room, and then you move somewhere else, and the drums in particular sounded really different, and in some ways they had a bit more of a rock ‘n’ roll kind of feeling.” explains Chantler. Responding to that radically different, reverb-soaked ambience, he and Wright took advantage of a pair of matching Fender tube amps, charging their individual signals to match the booming, resonant sprawl of Noble’s pinpoint clatter.Compared to the group’s debut album Front and Above—a live recording of the trio’s very first performance at London’s Café Oto—which Chantler edited to emphasise the sparser expanses of the raucous, performance, the new album reveals a more open-ended spectrum, from delicate to crushing. Noble’s beautifully metallic rustling and throbbing snare bombs hang pregnantly in the air, and Chantler and Wright thicken the atmosphere with twinned abstractions, alternately ethereal and punishing. The transitions between calm and chaos are sometimes seamless, sometimes abrupt, but the full landscape transports the listener to another realm regardless of how ferocious or gentle the attack may be. As strong as the trio’s first album was, Atlantis marks a massive step forward. “The more you play together the more it starts to cohere into some kind of specific language,” says Chantler. “You start to understand the point of what a particular constellation might be.” With Atlantis there’s little doubt these three improvisers know exactly what the point of it all is, which thrillingly means that many new paths in the future have opened up.  --- John Chantler / synthesiser Steve Noble / drums Seymour Wright / alto saxophone --- RECORDED AND MIXED AT ATLANTIS GRAMMOFON AB, STOCKHOLM 24 JANUARY 2018ENGINEER: JANNE HANSSONMASTERING: STEPHAN MATHIEUPAINTINGS: LESTER WRIGHT RECORDING SESSION MADE POSSIBLE WITH SUPPORT FROM THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS

John Chantler / Steve Noble / Seymour Wright – ATLANTIS

LP / CD

A duo for saxophone and synthesizer. Johns/John lock into a series of cycles and frequency systems that while loosely in the tradition of the patterned saxophony and accompanying string drone of La Monte Young and the Theatre of Eternal Dream Music’s B Flat Dorian Blues. The pair obliterate the instrumental hierarchy that Young espouses for an altogether more unknowable intensity of experience. -- John Chantler / synthesizer Johannes Lunds / alto saxophone  --- Liner notes: Two Dreams For Endless Skies Music makes my mind drift uncontrollably. When I saw John Chantler and Johs Lunds perform at Copenhagen’s Mayhem venue I had a vision: I awake suddenly to discover that I have been sleeping on a beach. It’s a rainy early morning and I’m laying on my back in the open on the sand, the hood of my jacket blinding my peripheral vision. I have no idea how I got there and only see grey clouds above and hear the waves and wind. I stare into the sky blinking from light speckles of falling rain, my mind reeling from two dreams. I try to stem the rapid decay that dreams inherently suffer from: 01 Static I’m a child living on a west coast Canadian island and the nights I hate most are the silent ones. To fall asleep to anything other than silence is preferable – rain the best, howling wind reassuring, a violent storm just fine – it’s an emptiness broken sporadically by a creaking tree, a snapping branch and other terrifying small sounds that emanate from the encroaching forest. It’s the terrifying absence of background sounds that makes me aware of how far away from everything I am here. It makes me claustrophobic – the dark edges of the forest encroach, the only thing keeping them from closing in is the light outside the front door washing the dark green trees, ferns and rocks with a creepy dim light. Around this time, while I start to understand my fear of silence, I am given a portable radio. I spend nights slowly panning the tuning dial through the shimmering static noise of the radio spectrum, picking up the odd AM channel that somehow has made itself audible all the way out here where I am. Faint songs blend into speech into rich hisses into warbling glissandi and squeaks and pops – engrossing noises that I imagine come from orbiting satellites, distant planets and other worlds. 02 Waves In the next dream I travel with my father to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. We hike through the forests of Cape Scott Park towards the sea. It takes us all day to get there. Along the trail I listen to the relentless roar of the wind and crashing waves coming off the ocean. The coast persistently seems just over the next hill but doesn't appear – the white noise grows more wearing and the hike turns to a slog. The park we are in contains a series of overgrown fields and dilapidated farm houses. Built by late 19th century Danish colonists, they were abandoned just over a decade later when the roads and utilities the government had promised didn't materialise. The settlements have a spooky peacefulness, beautiful but mournful in the subsuming nature. Through ghost farms and fields, then some low bushes, we finally arrive at the shore. Here the white noise of wind and waves takes full hold. The white-capped sea churns out to the horizon and the pale bright sandy beach stretches to either side of us for kilometres. Far down the beach we see a number of large dark lumpen shapes plonked upon the sand. As we walk towards them the shapes slowly reveal themselves to be a colony of recently deceased sea lions. In the heat of the blaring sun some of the giant cadavers have become bloated enough to cause their boiled and steaming guts to explode out onto the beach. Dotted in constellations around the carcasses and across the shore are hundreds of brightly coloured size 10 Nike running shoes, all for the left foot. A shipping container must have fallen off a freighter during a heavy storm, breaking apart and dumping the left footed shoes into the sea, where they drifted to the shore and washed up on this beach. They look so peculiar and fake against the guts and endless nature – vibrant running shoes, floating through infinite space, bobbing across the swelling grey sea, in the brilliant rays of sunshine, or the luminous light of the moon, blown on by howling wind through the slow motion murk of my memory. A large black bear emerges from behind one of the giant sea lion carcasses and raises itself up onto its hind legs. I jump up but instead of the beach I am back in the venue and my ears are ringing. Finish There’s an idea that the essential human use of music is as a mask – that at its core music is a way to drown out all the external noises that our most inner primordial self automatically processes as a warning, setting our nerves alight. What this understanding of music might mean for, say, love songs, dance or noise music is hard to fathom, and the idea becomes too reductive to be interesting. But it is useful sometimes, inasmuch as the idea connects music directly to animals, landscape and endless cosmos – dumping us humans and our machines and activities into what was once called nature. Sound and silence drift uncontrollably, endlessly, until they find music. Music makes our minds drift uncontrollably but gives us an interface with the world. Nathaniel Budzinski 

John Chantler & Johannes Lundes – Endless Sky

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