Thursday, January 24, 2019

Album Review: Michael Chinworth - Three Vapors EP

Michael Chinworth
Three Vapors EP
*and1/2 out of *****

A music teacher at Bennington College in Vermont, Michael Chinworth takes his styles out of the classroom and into the studio. For his most recent offering Chinworth tries to blend pop vocals with avant-garde production/playing on the three tunes presented on this EP Three Vapors. Unfortunately he leans much more towards the weird and in the end these three tracks come across more goofy and irritating than expected.

The opening track is the best and more of a sound/voice collage titled "Good As It Gets" which starts minimal and then begins to layer odd sounds and his vocals on top of a yearning retro looking sad title refrain. Chinworths vocals are soft and warm and the sonic tapestry that he weaves is very cinematic as it floats along with no bottom holding him down. He mentions Frank Ocean and modern R&B in his lead up to this release and this light airy weariness is where he is closest connected to that sound. 

The follow up "Fugue" starts of more typical with a mellow piano before a rush of spoken word phrases arrive at exactly the same time slamming the listen and throwing them off balance. The piano and organ minimal playing continues throughout (with unfortunately little variation) while completely random yells, singing and spoken phrases are tossed out with various levels of intensity. If the phrases had been connected, memorable, or funnier this experiment may have worked, but as it stands it sounds like a failed first year students sound/art project.

The closing "iiVIIViiVi (since you went away)"mixes pretty piano backing with annoying digital siren sounding flares creating a mix of sweet and sour for close to seven minutes. Chinworth's avant-garde leanings have come on strong for Three Vapors, but for pop fans to take notice he will have to increase the saccharine dosage next outing as two out of three of these tracks are arraigned to challenge and do more irritating then elevating.   
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