Review: Charles Razeur – Charles Razeur (Lost Light, Jan 5)

A few months ago, I wrote about Damien De Coene’s tape The Present Is a Hostile Place on Geräuschmanufaktur, and its haunting focus on absence and silence even when it is surrounded by noise. Charles Razeur is a new project from De Coene, one that takes that subversive wall composing approach to new extremes on its self titled release. The first track is dominated by tape hiss, sparingly punctuated with cloying bits of static and low rustling. It is unlike any other wall I’ve heard, both in its presence and construction. Every element of the incredibly minimal composition contributes to a feeling of isolation and fear. It’s not fear in the visceral, confrontational way, an emotion that is frequently evoked by wall artists; instead, De Coene approaches elusive feelings of ghostly presences and old rooms pregnant with the souls of those that came before. “I” rewards listening to its full duration more than most other pieces I’ve heard; its unique atmosphere and unpredictability almost seem to imprison me. “II” retains the sparse textural palette, but with a much more liberal application of the crackles over top of the hiss. It’s a great foil to the first, and while I think “I” is definitely the centerpiece of Charles Razeur, the tape is overall a fantastic and singular debut release.