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Hawkins, Chester

Natural Causes - Original Music For Pale Trees, A Film By Tim Ashby [VINYL]

Hawkins, Chester: Natural Causes - Original Music For Pale Trees, A Film By Tim Ashby [VINYL] (Intangible Arts)

Washington, DC based electronic experimenter Chester Hawkins (Blue Sausage Infant) was commissioned by director Tim Ashby to compose this work for the soundtrack to his feature-length film "Pale Trees", Hawkin's music illustrating the film's gradient of psychological colors from darkness, rage, and vengeance through a mix of kosmische drone in a Tangerine Dream vein.

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product information:

Label: Intangible Arts
Catalog ID: IA019
Squidco Product Code: 26061

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Intangible Arts, in Washington, DC, Fall, 2015.


Chester Hawkins-synthesizers, lapsteel guitar, field recordings

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Artist Biographies:

"Chester Hawkins (Washington DC) has performed a wide range of experimental music since 1985. His most well-known project was BLUE SAUSAGE INFANT, being an exercise in musique concrète and loop-collage, which later expanded to embrace drone, krautrock, psychedelia, noise, and sonically intense live performances. After 28 years, the BSI project was retired and new works continue under his own name, crafting dynamic adventures in sound with a more focused and wholly electronic approach.

Hawkins has released music under the imprints Alrealon Musique, Zeromoon, and his own Intangible Arts. Past collaborators include Insect Factory, Violet, Tag Cloud, Haunted Toilet, Changes to Blind, New Carrollton, Lida Husik, and Stolen Government Binder Clip."

-Chester Hawkins 11/28/2022

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track listing:


1. Pale Trees, Part 1 22:10


1. Pale Trees, Part 2 21:50
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

The Album

"Natural Causes is an original work commissioned for the soundtrack to Tim Ashby's feature-length film Pale Trees. Using a large array of synths, deep-woods field recordings, electronics, and "violated lapsteel," Hawkins' score illustrates the film's gradient of psychological colors from darkness, rage, and vengeance, to the relief inherent in forgiveness.

Through the sonic textures of 1970s "Berlin-school kosmische," drone, and the more experimental side of krautrock, Natural Causes effectively coexists with the film PALE TREES and works well on its own as an immersive audio environment. It also serves to counterbalance Hawkins' more improvised material by being a strictly composed affair, born in the studio under comparatively sterile laboratory conditions.

the Film

Pale Trees (2016), written/directed by Tim Ashby Produced by Deep Wells Productions, AZ:

"Tired of her mother's admonishments about not facing reality, Liv spitefully digs up the ghost of her mother's early days in Hollywood,a reality the b-list female action figure buried long ago. The consequences of Liv's mischief are not just haunting but incapacitating, and cause profound transformations throughout the family."

"Commissioned and recorded as the soundtrack to Tim Ashby's feature film Pale Trees, Natural Causes stands on its own as an immersive audio experience (especially considering that the film is still in post-production, so no one, other than the filmmakers, knows how it fits in with the film). It begins, ominously, with field recordings of Rock Creek Park: crows cawing as leaves crunch beneath footsteps. A menacing synth drone slowly fades in, establishing the anxious tone of Hawkins' soundtrack. Like all of Hawkins' experimental and noise works since the mid-1980s, most notably those under the moniker Blue Sausage Infant (which was retired a few years ago), there's a confluence of influences at play here: sneering psychedelia, deep drone, the experimental elements of krautrock, dark Brian Eno-esque ambient soundscapes, and the synthesized soundtracks of John Carpenter's most notable horror and sci-fi films. More than anything, though, all of these influences work together to evoke a sense of utter dread that underscores the album's 44-minute runtime, even when it cascades into more upbeat territories. After more than three decades of sonic exploration, Hawkins has established himself in the District's buoyant noise scene as a master of improvisation. But curiously enough, Natural Causes is by Hawkins' own admission "a strictly composed affair, born in the studio under comparatively sterile laboratory conditions." That's significant for two reasons: It showcases the careful nuance and consideration that Hawkins put into every sound that occupies the album; and it shows an artist who's not just still evolving, but also intent on pushing his musical explorations to greater depths. Though Natural Causes is a commissioned soundtrack to Ashby's film, it at times feels like the soundtrack to present-day D.C.: Walls of natural and synthesized sound ebb and flow over a pulsating, warbly groove, creating a somewhat menacing, dreadful vibe that something dark this waycomes. With D.C.'s rapid development in the past few years and the incoming administration, it's hard not to feel like Natural Causes is a conversation between Hawkins and his surroundings-both natural and unnatural."-Matt Cohen,

Related Categories of Interest:

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