Experimental World Music can’t really be defined as a "style", but that is exactly what Roland Chadwick appears to be excelling at these days. His compositions usually have no single recognizable ethnicity, but are always brimming with a cross-ethnic style of production and performance. His latest full length album entitled "Size of the Earth for Comparison" was written, produced, and nearly entirely performed by Chadwick in his London studio.
Crossing the finish line in just under an hour, Chadwick manages to squeeze 12 very interesting and somewhat unusual arrangements into the overall finished product, giving the album an extremely experimental feel. Most of Chadwick’s pieces are filled with layered guitar work, accented with a multitude of varying live & synthetic orchestral instrumentation and percussion. Beginning with "Elephant Song", the album launches into a heavy percussion and simple fluted melody bringing about the imagery of a lush rainforest. From there, songs like "Any Time Now" and "Demelza" feature the guitar style that Chadwick is recognized for. "Thinking A-Loud #1" is a synthetic-horned arrangement that sounds like the soundtrack to a dark and dreamy Brothers Quay short; this style of experimental composition suggests movement and freedom in a way that few can explain without first-hand exposure to the music itself.
Moving on, "A Day: Stolen From Summer" is a dreamy glass-like piece that drones in rhythm with the underlying percussive melody, and "Inform Your Face" has the same dreamy nuance, yet is brought to life through the dark and booming bottom end of a grand piano and Chadwick’s steel stringed flamenco fretwork. "Thinking A-Loud #2 & #3" don’t really continue where the initial piece left off; rather, they create an odd break from the subtle feel of the other pieces. "The Silent Memory of God" spotlights the artist’s hefty multi-tiered/pseudo-classical fretwork, and more excellent flamenco movements. "Ozymandias" has a droning trance-like feel, while "Come the Winter, all Fragrance is Lost" is obviously Oriental in construction and rather intense with it’s heavy Gamelon melody and echoing Gong and Bell blasts. The album closes with the glitched bleeps and digital crunches of electro-synthesis in the title track: "Size of the Earth for Comparison".
Ranging from contrived tech-experimental to organically friendly sounds, Roland Chadwick is able to span vast areas of musical know-how with his works, and with the help of several fellow instrumentalists, is able to bring each one of these wondrous compositions to life. But, this isn’t your Mother’s "Electro/Organic Progressive Experimental World Music".