Jerome Chassagnard – Inner Dialog


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

He just doesn’t know the meaning of the word disappoint, that Jerome. For his third solo album he drops into even deeper ambient territory and gives us a further view of oceanic splendor. Is he planning to work for the Cousteau Society as a sound designer for their programs? At this rate he’ll be aboard the Calypso in no time. His music has become far more than just beautiful contrasts of time and space; when you’re going through what can only be viewed as trying in life let go of your waking self and submit to the ‘Inner Dialog’. For here in this amniotic sac of watery embrace you’ll begin to realize just what an insignificant role you play in the order of things.

Humankind have, through their usage of technology managed to extend their lives well beyond 80 at this point but what Chassagnard composes pulls back that comforting sheen of invulnerability to reveal a truth which many choose to flat out ignore: everything will continue without our meddling presence just fine. We think we’re the apex of evolution but if recent events in Western Africa demonstrate anything we are no more than a convenient snack for our viral overlords. Take a moment to consider where we’ve come from and where we’re headed and then play out this record, see where your thoughts take you. As with so many other riveting pieces of auditory art I’ve heard this year, this is a reality check. These deliciously beds of reverb drenched piano and pads just make it easier to swallow.

Setting all that aside, ‘Inner Dialog’ is an incredibly soothing exercise in sound; a labyrinth of catacombs and corridors which when ventured into lead only to more paths suddenly appearing from nowhere. When viewed from a distance, perhaps this maze of thoughts will take on some kind of order; the only way I’ve found to get out is for the record to end. He’s got a peculiar way of inserting bursts of classical influences between the gargantuan washes and for the majority of this album there aren’t even the barest of rhythms. Have no fear, however, they do appear around the halfway point when the true majesty is let out to play. I’m talking of the gorgeously bejeweled “Somewhere”, a track that sums up his style with graceful strength and impeccable precision.

While he may not be the best known practitioner of organic electronics out there, he is without a shred of doubt one of the most daring. His imagination brings to life a stunning tableau, one that you’ll find exceedingly difficult to let be. I had to spend months processing “Inner Dialog” (it really is a perfect name for this) but the realizations and revelations it will lead to and allow you to witness are incomparable. All this universe contained in the surf and spray, an entire microcosm of sentient beings who casually lap at our feet… or do they. Perhaps the sand we tread is a cautionary tale of our own future; when civilization eventually comes to it’s end only the grains will remain.

Jerome ChassagnardInner Dialog
Hymen Records, ¥823
CD/Digital 2014

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