The crucible of chamber music has seen a new influx of creativity from the fringes of pop and modern classical in the last few years. As the string quartet lies low, synths and crusty vinyl distortion are given their chance to glow. Artists like The Caretaker and indeed Ruhe, on this spotlit, spellbinding short release “Chamber Loops”, produce music that resonates within the space of the chamber, while dramatically expanding the available sound palette.
An overtly hauntological effect is not what Ruhe is trying to achieve here. There is no ‘forced’ or ‘uber-scratched-to-the- point-of-silly’ dimension-sculpting with “Chamber Loops”. On ‘Rose’, the tones and chords blossom out from waxy synths that are impressionistically reverb-heavy and echoey. It’s economical music, and the effects show on the listener; there’s lots of room to breathe, packets of select tonal digestives; and a general easiness about the whole shebang that places you, the audience, also in a comfortable position.
One can imagine the spacey solemnity of ‘October’ as a fusion of subject and musical context. The Milieu/Jasper TX-esque drones fill in a thick ocean of emptiness that builds a lamp in your brain circuitry in order to cross-wire its fibres; the limbic system is relaxed and soothed, creating one of the highlight moments of the EP. It’s quite in line with The Caretaker’s fine-grained sampling of ‘An Empty Bliss Beyond This World’ by this point, a cannon of romanticising early 30’s ballroom sounds shooting forth through the ceiling and out of a smoky chimney.
Given the gap left by The Caretaker’s now better-known alias Leyland Kirby and proto-techno patrons Demdike Stare for the whole hauntologism movement in 2015, Ruhe can take centre stage with this short collection of wonderful forgotten memories. That’s definitely what they feel and sound like, forging signature meaning and then transcending the context of calligraphy to push thoughts around the mind that you never quite remembered quite the same before. It’s an essential release.
All proceeds from digital sales of “Chamber Loops” will be donated to the Portland Rescue Mission in Portland, Oregon.