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pinkcourtesyphone: Foley Folly Folio (Line Segment)

pinkcourtesyphone is a curious moniker of Richard Chartier, Line label owner and one of the key players in highly minimal electronic experimental music. Typically, Chartier’s music has been austere to say the least. His last under his proper name, Transparency (Performance), featured tightly wound chamber arrangements of his supremely reduced sounds. I’d liken his music to an Ad Reinhardt painting… subtle and purist, requiring a fair amount of attention to the details, and reveling in the absence of much. If Chartier’s music is an Ad Reinhardt painting, then under the guise of pinkcourtesyphone it’s something more akin to a Mark Rothko. Airy but abstract, dreamlike and organic, like a hazy cloud. It’s not surprising that Chartier felt compelled to start a separate offshoot of Line for this release, allowing him to veer pretty generously out of bounds of the usual Line aesthetic. While these pieces may be more gaseous, they are by no means less controlled or measured; Chartier’s is a careful hand. Some of the ethereal loops and disembodied voices that permeate Foley Folly Folio recall the ghostly sounds of The Caretaker, but there is far less schtick here. “Wishful Wistful Wanton” is a lovely prologue, fully of breathy, disembodied female whispers and droning loops. “Here Is Something… That Is Nothing” takes its own sparseness not without a wink, it would seem. Still, it’s quite compelling as an ethereal, spacious wander. Perhaps my favorite stretch of Foley Folly Folio is in the second half of “A Dark Room Full of Plastic Plants,” with a subtle, looped bass section that recalls muffled strings. Much of this album passes by like a dream, more of a series of impressions and afterimages than a concise series of works. The contradiction of Chartier’s methodical repertoire and deliberate hand versus the nebulous finished form of these pieces makes Foley Folly Folio a strangely beguiling album, one highly worth a listen.

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