Updated: Jan 19
A welcome addition to his discography in late November last year, The Poor. The Reign is a strange and seemingly erratic album by electronic artist Whettman Chelmets. Rather than starting from a concept, this album was compiled from a number of tracks composed early in the year that seemed to loosely connect to one another. Despite this, the tracks seem to tell some kind of loose story that communicates agitation and confusion through an impressive range of techniques over a range of odd tracks.
The album bounces back and forth between a subdued ambiance and a chaotic cacophony in a manner that disorients and intrigues. The opening track “She is Your Grandmother and Your Grandfather” sets out with a dark tone that is punctuated by the sampled sounds of a household full of children and an adult that shifts and morphs as the track progresses. The album then temporarily switches gears with “Break in Fluidity” and we are given the subdued ambiance that coordinates with the cacophony to define this album.
Throughout the album, Chelmets utilized an amazing set of techniques and sounds to create intriguing and sometimes discomforting soundscapes. Most notable is his use of vocal samples on the already discussed first track, but also on the third “Vespers” which utilizes an odd and unplaceable vocal sample that mutates and eventually overtakes the entire track. But, when not using these strange vocal samples, Whettman also employs a number of strange percussive sounds that range from metallic plinks to the sound of corrugated metal being moved erratically.
Among all these techniques, there is one track that stands out and seems to be different from any other. The midpoint track “Talking About Love” is a nearly twelve-minute epic that employs a crushing distortion juxtaposed against an almost soothing monophonic pad. The result is a dynamic and hypnotic drone that slowly morphs and oscillates under it eventually fades until it only leaves only the underlying pad.
The Poor. The Reign is an intriguing album that embodies a certain subtle kind of chaos, the kind that bubbles just below the surface. It certainly seems to represent the year in which each of its tracks written. The eclectic use of sounds and the variety of tracks makes for an experience that is almost background music but also refuses to be completely ignored.