Chris Russell: Noir (Digital)

Product Description

1 Visible Light
2 Scrying
3 Drift of Mist
4 Noir
5 The Grey Chamber
6 Forever In Blue
7 Underneath It All
8 Thin Veils

Since his 2009 debut Aralu, Chris Russell has released 29 electronic/ambient albums; Noir is his 30th and first solo release for Portland-based Projekt Records. The textural moods are dark and intriguing, exploring the unfamiliar, dealing with loss and mortality. It’s an album full of mystery and phantasmic soundscapes enveloping the listener in 70 minutes of unearthly sonic moods. Russell’s unanswered questions find glimmers of hope that someday all will be revealed.

“Noir began after I Iost my father,” Russell reveals. “Dealing with the experience of losing a parent was difficult. The artist in me wanted to express what I was feeling; often music has been the close friend that I rely on when things are complicated. I also wanted to pay a sort of tribute and introduce my listeners to the eclectic ways of my father and my upbringing. My dad was a long-time member of MUFON (The Mutual UFO Network) and had interests in the paranormal as well. I was raised with one foot firmly in the unknown which has been a major influence in my music and the art I create. This album has otherworldly themes and is at times melancholy. Though I didn’t want this album to be too dark, in fact the opposite. Death is the next step in the journey, so what is behind the veil. What’s next?”

Noir‘s glimmerings, shadows, caresses, murmurs and specters contained in these slowly evolving soundworlds move from a velvety luminous quality to columns of smoke and dissonant sonic vapor. Don’t let the title Noir throw you off. The reference to dark shades is where the light may be. Dark to light, light to dark, and shades of grey encompass this album from start to finish.

Music by Chris Russell
Mastering and cover photography by Peter James

Dedicated to Paul O. Russell

Thanks to my family and friends, Sam & Shea at Projekt Records, Peter James, Hollan Holmes, Marco Billi, Native Instruments,
Slate + Ash

Projekt release: March 22 2024

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  1. Reviews Editor

    From Exposé

    Chris Russell is an ambient sound artist who has been releasing material since 2009’s Aralu, with a total of thirty releases to date; his earliest releases were on the Relaxed Machinery label, followed by several self-released albums, half a dozen or so on Spotted Peccary, including some collaborations with Phillip Wilkerson, Pixyblink, Dawn Tuesday, Mystified and others. Following 2022’s collaboration Transmissions from Serpent Mound with Jarguna on Projekt; Noir is Russell’s first solo release on Projekt, a collection of eight tracks of blissful ambient electronics, an album of sprawling widescreen soundscapes that shimmer with beauty, light and shadows, full of rich textures, concealing broad interlocking patterns steaming just below the surface, sometimes menacing, other times cascading and powerful, but always pulling the listener into its soundworld.

    The set opener “Visible Light” brings all of that beauty to bear in a mystical cosmic essence. Noir is French for “black,” as well as the title track at position four, a mysterious swirling pocket of ambience. Pushing and pulling outward and inward, where fragments of color splash across a darkened sky. Russell notes that Noir began following the loss of his father, noting that the experience of losing a parent led him to express the emotions and feelings that he was experiencing through his music, although what he presents to the listener is not overly dark or troubling, merely a cascade of complex emotions. The music at hand floats freely without a cadence, purely instrumental in nature, shifting through numerous temperaments and moods. “The Grey Chamber” pushes and pulls, shifting uneasily between brittle shadows and elemental complexities, while “Thin Veils” closes the set with almost symphonic grandeurr, full of bristling and jagged elements that draw the listener deep into a different world. With Noir Russell has created an engaging and otherworldly journey that should open new sonic realms for the astute listener. -Peter Thelen

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