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Introducing Chapter 24, a label that returns to the meaning and purpose of house and techno's early days. With captivating artwork by Danish illustrator Simon Vaeth across the imprint’s various series, they give their fans the full experience - both sonically and visually - in addition to providing fascinating narratives throughout. If these Londoners have any kind of mission statement, it's to bring you organic music that has a sense of meaning.
Their self-styled 'stories in sound' provide a captivating mix of music, art and verse. The tales they tell hypnotise you with their prose, preparing to step into another world. They believe that storytelling is the essence of electronic music, and you will find they present their releases as ‘Chapters’, their remixes as ‘Editions’ and their 'Seven Stories' series of compilations.
Label bosses Sam Pauli and Más Black (who make music together under the VVerses moniker) created the label in 2015, along with co-founder Paul Nolan and a small core of label artists including KatrinKa from Russia. Shortly after, they drafted in some of the scene's big guns to enhance their profile. These worthy additions came in the form of the UK electro legend Kurt Baggaley, the Stil Vor Talent affiliated Several Definitions and Norwegian tech-house hero Djuma Soundsystem - who delivered one of the label's stand out moments this year (in collaboration with Westerby) on the Disambigua EP.
The next chapter arrives on December the 8th, when they present the debut full length release of young Frenchman Anton Dhouran entitled "The Myth of Tarae". Born into a family of filmmakers, this rising star from Paris has been showcasing his talent at crafting cinematic dance tracks in recent times. These have been heard on tastemaker labels such as Hamburg’s Diynamic and Nick Warren’s Soundgarden to name but a few. The new LP is his most exciting release yet and naturally the album also comes with a short movie to coincide with its release. Directed by Pascal Dash & Emma Dhoeraene, the music video highlights the growing issue of global warming.
There is undoubtedly a cinematic feel throughout this collection of captivating tracks - and indeed every one tells a story. Each ‘scene’, if you will, certainly deserves a synopsis of sorts. The dynamic opener "This Is Us" sets the plot in impressive fashion. Like most tracks on the album it is so emotive, showcasing Dhouran's musical competence and strong classical music foundations. With majestic string arrangements and hypnotic guitars shimmering away, these elements are offset by live jazz style drumming and it is rather impressive.
Speaking of which, broken rhythm patterns are a constant for the most part, with the album’s 10 tracks ambitiously remaining off the usual ‘four to the floor’ grid. This is particularly evident on "Valhalla Rising" which is injected with electric funk bass, soothing woodwind melodies and an immersive atmosphere crafted by his equally brilliant sound design skills. "Praetorius" even features the funky drums of early 2000s ‘nu-skool breaks', plus more evocative and magical synth leads - all conjured from high-fidelity digital synthesis techniques.
What really stands out on the album is that it captures a wide variety of textures and atmospheres, moods and grooves. Rest assured that in keeping with the label's modus operandi, there are some strong dancefloor-oriented numbers that will have you moving your feet, as much as they will stimulate your mind. Take "Amenestra" for instance, featuring mental/trance-inducing elements and complemented by lush string arrangements alongside angelic soprano vocals by Etienne Girard - a one time member of the popular junior vocal group Vox Angeli.
"Isle of Arava" drops more power on this energetic dancefloor cut, awash in shimmering synths and celestial pads plus super tight rhythms. "Odyssey" provides a needed change of pace on this ambient IDM cut, full of complex and glitchy rhythm arrangements against yet another backdrop of ethereal choir music. Finally, the title track is a short but bittersweet ode which marks the end of a fantastic voyage and features the fine talents of London based singer Ed Begley - with a vocal style reminiscent of the legendary Thom Yorke.
At the tender age of only 23, Dhouran demonstrates an exemplary musicality which is well beyond his years. The album also sees him mature with a much greater perspective beyond the dancefloor - similar to the likes of current innovators such as Nicola Cruz or Max Cooper. He has the ability to delve deep into the exotic - through complex and classical instrumentation like the former, while weaving highly engineered futurist electronica like that of the latter.
Moreover, here is a great hybridization of world music and new age sounds, with the hypnotic style of dancefloor drama made popular by labels like Life & Death or Stil Vor Talent. In the dramatic tale that is “The Myth of Tarae”, the protagonist looks into a crystal ball, catching a glimpse of what fate awaits him. He sees a figure embodying one of electronic music’s most promising talents - and no doubt it's Anton Dhouran himself.