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Charron; A-J: Humouring Gods

There's a good chance that those of us who devote a fair bit of time to progressive, avant-garde music will be familiar with the name A-J Charron, but not because you have his previous CDs tucked away in the dark recesses of your nusic collection, but because for many a year he spent his time writing articles and reviews for the likes of the Guitar Noise and DPRP websites. Now writing about music certainly doesn't make you an expert and immediately qualified to rush out and record your own interpretation of what you write about (don't worry, the debut album from Reid's Rarebits is a long way off...). However in the case of Humouring Gods, A-J Charron has obviously poured his heart and soul into an album that follows a deep, well rounded concept through eight instrumental tracks.

Based on Greek mythology, Humouring Gods tells the story of a beautiful woman transformed into a harpy as punishment for being seduced by a God. Transporting those themes into music without lyrics is a hard task, but Charron throws his ambient guitar noise at the concept with great gusto and it has to be said, mostly pulls it off. However that doesn't automatically stop this album from being a tough listen, as through the very nature of being a piece initially conceived as an orchestral composition, the lack of song based melody infused craft can make for an extremely remote and cold listen. Instead what you'll find here is best described as soundscapes, where the eight tracks all segue into one another, repeating and revisiting themes and ideas in different ways as the story progresses. Some moments are soothing, dreamily floating along in a truly seductive style, while in places the claustrophobia is intentionally rather overcoming. Strap on the headphones and the clarity and focus that brought this album together comes clearly into view, disparate strands of sound and idea merging into one cohesive whole. However in most other circumstances it is exactly the same facets which leave much of this album impenetrable and stubbornly confrontational. Too often the sounds feels samey and truth be told the whole structure of the musical pieces often leads to you drifting off to other places - sometimes with the music as your guide, sometimes not.

It isn't easy being critical of an album that I 100% believe hits the spot it was intended for. However I can think of few occasions when I'd opt for Humouring Gods as my musical companion. That doesn't make it bad, or unworthy, but it does make it tougher to recommend than certain aspects of this album suggest it should do.

Track Listing
1. Transformation
2. Sorrow
3. Aftermath
4. Phantasmes
5. Revenge
6. Nostalgia
7. Insanity
8. Oblivion

Added: April 1st 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: AJ Charron Music
Hits: 2066
Language: english

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