Chainworks: Red Rooms & Twenty Minutes in Brooklyn (2003)
Chainworks is a futuristic trio playing otherworldly music for beings with expanded capacity for absorbing new directions. On Red Rooms, Dan DeChellis develops varied sonic possibilities on electric piano, Brian Moran submerges the soundscape with electronic supplements, and Matt Hannafin paints asymmetric rhythms from a palette of assorted shades and colors. Together, they unite to spontaneously chart unknown regions in the darkest crevices of the universe.
Recorded live, the trio’s music initiates a chilling ambiance where starkness and sparsity of tonal centers gradually build in intensity as would the compaction of shooting stars. The interaction of acoustic, electric, and electronic elements mesh intelligently in this natural extension of three minds channeled in one outbound direction. Each musician anticipates and relates to the changing environment to allow the thought processes to become a single source of atonality.
DeChellis introduces a plethora of intergalactic moods on electric piano. He alters the sound range and phasing to emit a flood of cosmic vibrations having jagged edges and abrupt angularity. The music seeps deeply into cavernous spaceways and accelerates rapidly to thrust the program into freefall weightlessness. On “RR3,” DeChellis’s unstructured orbit reenters a known corner of the cosmos but still maintains ties to the language spoken in far off star systems.
Moran adapts his electronics to the drifting, shifting environment. He supplies simulated heartbeats, lung gasps, and other stimuli as a retort to the staccato variables pouring from DeChellis’s piano. Moran’s efforts have a contrasting effect on the performance by promoting calm to combat the unearthly sensations circulating about.
The percussive contributions of Hannafin act as a tether from other galaxies to more recognizable terrain. He injects splattering jolts of white light while co-existing with the alien populace. Brushes scratch surfaces, hands rub skins, and sticks strike cymbals to provide clusters of arrhythmic responses to these ultra-foreign tongues.
In further documentation of the space journeys by Chainworks, Sachimay Records released an abbreviated follow-up of the trio’s exotic approach to spontaneous improvisation titled Twenty Minutes in Brooklyn. This shorter but equally compelling work, taken from the Improvised and Otherwise festival performance, is another live example of their spontaneity. DeChellis plays acoustic and electric piano, and the same sinister thrill of discovery permeates this more recent and aggressive trek into space by three adventurous hearts.
Taken together, these recordings provide a view into where creative improvisation is heading in this new century.
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Track Listing: Red Rooms : RR1 (10:46) / RR2 (16:38) / RB (16:20) / RR3 (10:32). Twenty Minutes in Brooklyn : (19:06).
Personnel: Dan DeChellis-electric piano, acoustic piano; Brian Moran-electronics; Matt Hannafin-percussion. < I>Red Rooms Recorded: May 18, 2002, Baltimore, MD; December 10, 2002, Brooklyn, NY. Twenty Minutes in Brooklyn Recorded: May 4, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.