While digging in the sonic dirt, Amok Recordings unearthed a dark gem with sinister powers. To protect its listeners, the label broke the gem into four equal parts. But beware! Play these four CD3″s sequentially and you may become possessed by dark magic!
Few folks will miss CDs, but the CD3″ has always been endearing. To receive four at once is a treat. This set, formerly titled I, II, III and IV and released from 2009-2013, represents a metamorphic output from a creative Canadian producer. With hints of dark ambient, drone, industrial and haunted ballroom, the set spawns images of shrouded statues in dusty rooms, tentacles beneath tables, and creaking closet doors. It’s beautiful, murky and deep, like an elusive image in an oxidized mirror, and it was formerly released in a boxed set of five.
Sam Hatzaras (Chains Made of Chalk) is the owner of Revolving Door Records, whose most recent release is a debut cassette from fellow dark artist L’Enfant De La Forêt. Under his own name, he records plunderphonics; as White Triangles, new age ambient; as ƸC†OPL∆SM, Carpenter-esque synth. But Chains Made of Chalk is his most effective guise, providing space for his darkest impulses. While there’s no telling which of his personalities is dominant, we suspect that Hatzaras has a gothic heart, which he has been able to hide behind a series of public masks. The appeal of Chains Made of Chalk is that it seems to reflect a universal shadow; it’s not just that the music is dark, but the subject matter as well, apparent in clips referencing atrocity and addiction on I, followed by the (non-IDM) industrial vibe on II-IV.
The set is best experienced as an extended sound collage, rather than as a series of tracks. This seems to be Hatzaras’ hope, as I would otherwise be an 8-track, 24-minute chapter book or a single track with a 39-word title. Resist the urge to dissect the individual discs into components, and listeners will find a smooth internal and inter-disc flow. This being said, each disc has its high points: the aforementioned ballroom section of I, the electronic beats and brass of II (with opera samples!), the industrial toppling into glitch on III, and the contrast between gloomy synth and chirpy chillwave sample on IV.
Just remember, there’s a reason why these are available in four separate parts. Put them together and the beast on the cover will come to life. You don’t want that, do you? Oh, you’re a brave one. We tried to warn you. (Richard Allen)