The click, the moan, the desolate drone: [a]Mira Calix[/a] is a lonely, unsettled soul, an electronic wanderer with nowhere to roam but her memories. ‘One On One’ is a travelogue of sorts, then, a sonic documentation of times past and places visited by the South African-born, Suffolk-based Chantal Passamonte, and it’s been a bleak, introspective journey, low on laughs but high in noises that sound like a robot with a stomach complaint.
Passamonte has the unorthodox approach to music-making beloved of the self-taught student. As such ‘One On One’ is the sound of this former Warp Records publicist exploring her equipment, making mistakes and pleasing herself – and us – again with a succession of rich, malevolent ambient works, playful in design but cautious and caustic in practice.
It’s a hard record to love, and certainly tracks like ‘Routine (The Dancing Bear)’ and ‘Upiyano’ with their naive techno fumbling make for decidedly uneasy listening. But persist and there’s a clarity of vision and uncluttered beauty to be found in the textured drone-wash of ‘Ms Meteo’ and ‘Skin With Me’‘s eerie Autechre-smart electro deviance. All of which suggests that next time around, with her feet firmly on the ground, [a]Mira Calix[/a] could take us somewhere very special indeed.