Album Review: Loren Chasse & Juho Toivonen – ACLOD : Experimental music, cinematic and stunning.

The Breakdown

ACLOD captures the relationship between these two musicians, the clear connectivity during their collaboration and the stunning result of their time spent together. Toivonen and Chasse are bringing something vibrant, alive and new here, quietly pushing boundaries.
Hive Mind 8.9

The vinylist in me hates to admit it but some music just needs to be preserved on CD and this piece adds weight to that proposal. Flowing through a continuous thirty minutes ACLOD, the anticipated collaborative project from Loren Chasse and Juho Toivonen (available now from the venerable Hivemind) declines any interruption from and A side/B side divide. The catch-all descriptor ‘immersive’ doesn’t quite capture the effect that ACLOD instils through listening, this is music that transports rather than transcends. It is cinematic in ambition and takes you places, an experience that needs to remain unspoiled.

First working together a couple of years ago when Toivonen re-issued Chasse’s revered field-recordings collection ‘Synthesis Of Neglected Places’ on his influential AKTI label, the partnership grew from a shared affinity for the minutiae of sound and the music of the natural. The beauty of this recording is how the two have assimilated their musical personalities. Chasse, long established within the experimental and underground scene, has as a solo artist focused on using the organic origins of sound, probing and recording these places for his visceral, ambient music. Toivonen on his first two releases, Lament & Rejoice in 2021 and Suurpaa 2022, has similarly sought out the possibilities of intricate sound manipulation, but often involving conventional instruments such as the clarinet, viola, piano as well as synthesiser. ACLOD therefore captures the relationship between these two individuals, the clear connectivity during their collaboration and the stunning result of their time spent together.

It’s an album that evolved remotely, the duo crafting, sharing and exchanging between Toivonen’s Finnish base in Pori and Chasse’s home in Portland, Oregon. The foundation for ACLOD were environmental recordings, sounds collected by Chasse around the Coyote Wall trail in Washington State and Toivonen from his seaside city on the north-west Finland coast. The locations may have been miles apart but the magic of this album is the bringing together of the essential and elemental in order to shape a new destination.

Sculpting from landscape to soundscape with care and sensitivity the pair draw on their musicality, fusing tone and melody from their instrumentation, both acoustic and electronic. Juno synth, melodeon, guitar, bowed gongs and tuned bowls blend imperceptibly as ACLOD glides onwards. However it’s almost impossible and inherently flawed to describe the piece’s trajectory in words, so shifting and personal the listening experience it creates. On my latest excursion through Toivonen and Chasse’s sonic journey I noted down around six transitions where the light shaded or the texture reconstituted but next listen doubtless that count will change.

For now ACLOD opens with the kinetic rush of water, bubbling, rolling, ebbing, rapid and turbulent until the current swirls into recess and the single hum of melodeon and a gently patted melody eases in. As you tune into the drifting, floating harmonics and the warming drone you begin to appreciate what listening can really mean and trust in Toivonen and Chasse for their guidance. From here the textures and touches reform and refresh with a subtlety and slow grace, notes quiver and high pitches hover but stay distant. This knack of keeping the listener focused but without feeling the need to concentrate is tricky. Many working in this arena try but few achieve it. On ACLOD Chasse and Toivonen emphatically do.

Elsewhere the sound of footsteps and talking infer some company or maybe intrusion. There is birdsong and movement, a quiet disturbance as a guitar sound calls from somewhere deeper. As a droning tide returns things feel more tense, dangerous, the sound waves roll bigger and the swell sucks back with some feedback drag. This story telling adds a distinctive, intriguing layer to the album, a narrative awareness last heard on Claire Rousay’s ‘everything perfect is already here’. Not that ACLOD has an obvious sonic plot line, beginning and end, pause and crescendo but it does close somewhere darker, cavernous, where a muffled gong sounds and voices echo. More knowingly understated and with much less conscious melodrama maybe it’s the pair’s gentle nod to Basinski.

That’s not to say that ACLOD is derivative. Toivonen and Chasse are bringing something vibrant, alive and new here, quietly pushing boundaries but from a different perspective than say Ben Bondy or Vera Dvale. On this album the partnership blur the borders between sound and music with invention and flair but more significantly with deep feeling. Want experimental music with soul – here it is.

Get your copy of ACLOD by Loren Chasse & Juho Toivonen from your local record store or direct from BANDCAMP

Previous News: Clutch Launch New 'PA Tapes' Series, Beginning With Their August 2022 Show In Copenhagen
Next News: Any Given Sin revealed video to single ''Calm Before The Storm''

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.