Chattermark is the Norwegian duo of trumpeter Gunhild Seim and electric bassist John Lilja, who are also partners in life and have collaborated before in Seim’s modern jazz Time Jungle band. Now, in their first project and their debut album as a duo, they experiment with a completely new sonic territory. Chattermark focuses on noise-drone soundscapes and abstract walls of sound, inspired by such diverse sources as the hypnotic metal feedback textures of Sunn 0))), the electronics-based music of Anthony Pateras and the electronics syntax abstracted into trumpet playing of Franz Hautzinger.
Chattermark began working in the spring of 2016 with the goal of making trumpet and bass sound nothing like trumpet and bass at all. It extends and transforms the sonic palettes of Lilja and Seim with assorted effects (Abelton, guitar pedals, reverbs, delays, distortion, loopers and some synths) and extended techniques. Lilja and Seim structured seven distinct pieces that move between minimalist to massive and intense soundscapes, using drones, distortion, repetitive structures and slow burning noise. Their dense sonic compounds make it almost impossible to know which sound – acoustic, electronic, mutated, or processed, is coming from which instrument.
All the pieces have a strong cinematic quality, and often evoke an unsettling sensibility, as if imagining and anticipating a coming apocalypse. The centerpiece is the three-part «Mycelium», an audio-visual piece created with visual artist Signe Christine Urdal for the 2021 edition of the created of Festival of New Trumpet Music in New York by the invitation of Dave Douglas, and will continue to be a central part of the coming tours of Chattermark (obviously, traveled by trains only). This dark and poetic piece investigates the relationship between the fragile natural environment and human beings in the lush Gausel forest in Southwestern Norway, reflecting Chatermark’s perspective that trees are our kin and we rely on each other. Patiently it becomes rougher and sometimes even more brutal, resonating with the fast effects of climate change. The following pieces «Excavator» and «Trochilidae» goes even deeper into stubborn, tortured and noisy regions. The last piece «Lithos» introduces some lighter, atmospheric overtones, stressing, again, the intriguing and poetic sonic vision of Lilja and Seim.
Gunhild Seim (tp, elec), John Lilja (bg, elec)