You Know, You Love Something Little [2003]

by Chris Dooks

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    Review from www.themilkfactory.co.uk

    “Different kinds of expressions for love”. With this statement, Chris Dooks closes the penultimate track of this album and gives in the process the key to his work. A labour of love, You Know, You Love Something Little definitely is. Love of impressionist touches, conflicting emotions and harrowing illusions.

    As intricate as they are, the soundscapes crafted by Chris Dooks on this new album are as beautiful and fascinating as ever. Based around very basic sound structures developed to create an illusion of total abstraction, the twenty six tracks composing You Know, You Love Something Little progress sharply between beat-less formations, mechanical patterns and samples of conversations. In some respects close to his work with the Northern Region Film & Television Archive, collected earlier this year on the inspiring To Look North, this new album follows Dooks’s collaboration with Frank Bretschneider released conjointly by French label Bip-Hop and Irish imprint Fällt.

    Far from the arid soundscapes of his contributions to Reciprocess, Dooks sculpts here sharp and short atmospheric vignettes, using a highly textural palette of sound sources ranging from bells to blank noises, electric guitars and human voices, at times treated, at others used as raw components. Despite the many mechanical aspects of his music, the mood is incredibly serene, an intrinsic characteristic of his work.

    The soundscapes are extremely complex, tightly held together to form intriguing moving shapes. From the ebbs and flows of the opening track, Antifoni, to the isolationist scratches of 100 x Glimma, Dooks throws in a wide range of emotions and impressions that he hangs out at will. The part story told by a woman of a walk in the fields on Bubblor casts a strangely disturbing shadow on the rest of the track, and seems somehow entirely disconnected from the background drones, as if the voice element was interfering directly with the recording equipment and was not an actual part of the composition.

    Dooks has used excerpts of conversation to length on To Look North. Here however, due to the specific placement of the voice in the spectrum and the absolute lack of contextual references in the story itself, the element appears terribly chilling. Elsewhere, on the broken Pax / Nexus / Beech and the interlude Rationell, calm atmospheric waves of soft melodies wash away the tormented soundscapes for a moment.

    Dooks sound manipulation techniques means that the tracks are extremely varied in structures. He juggles precariously with his sonic elements, very often injecting a whole series of extremely different ambiences in the same track to create an impression of chaos. The abrupt changes of directions are as unpredictable as they are unsettling, resulting in an impeccable effect of sound collages, but Dooks manages to remain consistent not only with his work all the way through this album, but also with his previous releases.

    With yet another mind-blowing production, Dooks establishes himself firmly at the sharp end of contemporary music, as he goes far beyond the realm of electronica, joining the likes of Peter Green or Autechre in a tireless search for unknown territories. Ignoring this record would be criminal.
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released February 1, 2003

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