Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’ West Mineral label present a groggy Midwestern ambient doozy with Chat, the first collaborative release by Pontiac Streator and Ulla Straus.
Pontiac Streator previously appeared as a guest on the first West Mineral LTD release, Pendant’s Make Me Know You Sweet, while Ulla Straus is perhaps best known for her part on the cultishly adored bblisss compilation tape which introduced Huerco S.’s Pendant alias to the world at large. Their first album together is a bedroom-crafted confection where drowsy blues and raga smudge with lounging exotica themes in a blunted style to properly heavy-lidded effect.
Chat was recorded on July 5th in Pilsen, Chicago on Ulla’s bed after a long week spent dancing with friends, staying up all night typing in chatrooms, and hate-watching Fox news. The results channel that experience into four lop-sided creations that feel satisfyingly burned out and immersive, like the murmur of zonked chat between close friends.
In four parts; Chat One thru Chat Four, the record unfurls with a muggy mid-fi tension between its illusive fidelities, kindling a smoky atmosphere that colours listening spaces with seductive smells and a muggy, keening tension that recalls the minutes before sundown.
This balmy feel of the surreal comes out in a sylvan patina of sweetened cicadas and curling pads urged along by a stream of wooden drums, variously recalling Spencer Clark on some kind of Aguirre soundtrack mission in the tropics, a heatsick Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement piece, or, in the dream-pop drift of the last part, like Leven Signs smudged by Muslimgauze.
Coolly serving to expand West Mineral LTD’s remit after that spellbinding Pendant album and a 12” of ectoplasmic dubs from uon, the flux of arid/fluid textures and para-dimensional fidelities in Chat feels somehow calming yet fraught with a somnambulant appeal that’s dangerously easy to fall for