New parisian imprint Abîme are launching their catalogue with Lettre d Amort, an EP by French producer Chams. It is a deeply personal collection of songs that were born out of transcendental experience he had during his teenage years. Growing up surrounded by the Alps and raised by an alpinist father, he always felt like those high mountains looming over him were “sacred places where the beauty and fear of nature merge to shape a unique atmosphere of vulnerable plenitude.”
A few years ago, he went on a solo journey across the Alps and came back a changed man. His solitary journey had compounded his view of the Alps as a place of beauty and fear, and that nature is to be admired from a wary distance. From then on he started making music with the aim to translate the epiphany he had in those high altitudes into a work of art. This EP, which features on the front cover a photograph taken by his father on one of his expeditions across the Himalaya, is the first accomplished result of this project.
In terms of the sonics Chams has created, what is striking is how the EP is one of contrasting impulses. On the one hand, Chams employs bright and minimal sonics and upbeat melodies that have something of a childhood naivety to them. On the other hand, these sounds compete with darker impulses which refuse to give over to the optimism that we are initially presented with. Nowhere is this more evident than on 'Ultraviolence', where agonised screams compete with a beautiful synth melody. These two contrasting impulses evoke the childhood and upbringing of Chams, who recognises that nature is something to be both admired for it's beauty, and feared for it's tempestuousness and inability to be tamed. Despite Chams holding these two impulses in a tension with one another throughout the EP, the work as a whole is unified and coherent in its aims, and serves as a wonderful introduction to a producer wrestling with the fundamentals of life.