Chimes for a Wall Drawing is a live recording of a performance at Tate Liverpool in August 2009, inspired by the gallery’s display of Sol LeWitt’s ‘Wall Drawing #1136’.
In the spirit of Sol LeWitt’s use of seriality and arbitrary systems, this electro-acoustic composition used the artwork as an inspiration and graphic score, mapping its seven spectrum colours onto the corresponding notes on coloured chime bars.
Chimes, handbell and electric guitar were processed live into elongated tones and drones, layered with electronics and field recordings made within the gallery and surrounding area.
Released by Cathedral Transmissions on digipak CD, in an edition of 50, 25 June 2011
Written and produced by Wil Bolton
Recorded live at Tate Liverpool, 15 August 2009
Chime bars, handbell, electric guitar, field recordings, electronics
Photography by Wil Bolton
Art direction by Antonymes
Cathedral Transmissions CT013
“Wind is the ultimate free traveller: constantly on the move, it knows neither where it is going or where it has been. It carries with it the scents and odours of distant lands, the dusts and sediments of deserts and mountains, but it cannot remember which souvenir it collected where, or in what order. If it has a memory at all, it is in the sculptures it carves into rocks and stones, the furrows it ploughs and holes it bores, writing the landscape. The accumulation of wind-blown silt, known as loess, is responsible for some of the planet’s most fertile soils.
The regular vertical lines of Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #1136” (2004) can be thought of as marking time; the irregular wave that crosses them is wind. LeWitt did not execute many of his wall drawings himself. Instead, he came up with the ‘concept’ in the form of a set of instructions, which were then carried out by an assistant. By emphasising the concept or the idea over the physical expression of it, LeWitt hoped to produce an art that was objective, timeless, coming from nowhere and going nowhere. The marks left by art would not be the art itself, but the traces of its passing, its writing, its sediment.
Wil Bolton’s “Chimes for a Wall Drawing” is a live recording made in the room where “Wall Drawing #1136” was shown at Tate Liverpool in 2009. Delicate chimes, handbells and guitar meander through long processed tones and sound recordings of the gallery and environs. Like LeWitt’s wave, “Chimes for a Wall Drawing” doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in particular, and it doesn’t seem in a particular hurry to get there. It does however sound as if it has come a long way: heavy use of echo carries images of remote, windswept steppes and desert plains. In this way the music leaves its traces on the imagination. Souvenirs of sound without label or catalogue, deposited haphazardly and without explanation. Upon listening I found my thoughts gently shaped and smoothed, blown clean by a fresh breeze.
“Chimes for a Wall Drawing”, originally available on Cathedral Transmissions in a digipack CD edition of just 50 copies is now up for grabs in a digital version via Bandcamp and comes highly recommended.” – Fluid Radio
“Towards the end of 2010 Wil Bolton released his debut under his own name ‘Time Lapse’, and earlier this year saw him join the Rural Colours ranks with a long form piece ‘Melt’ composed from toy keyboards, synthesizers, analogue delay and unexpected sounds occurring in the recording process. As with other releases from the label, the EP was an exceptionally beautiful piece, translating the imagery of Winter passing and Spring taking it’s place wonderfully. ‘Chimes for a Wall Drawing’ has similar components to Bolton’s previous releases, however the approach taken to create the one hour long work is significantly different, and results in an altogether more immersive soundscape; possessing a maturer and more experimental identity.
‘Chimes…’ is inspired by the Tate Gallery Liverpool’s 2009 display of American conceptual and minimalist artist Sol LeWitt’s work ‘Wall Drawing #1136’. Specifically, Bolton’s approach was to map the drawing’s seven colours (imagine Bridget Riley-esque vertical lines of rainbow colours intersected by a waving form similar to the River Thames in the same colour palette) to that of the corresponding colours on the chimes. Processing these, handbells, guitars and field recordings (from within and around the gallery) with layers of electronics, and all recorded live in the gallery space.
Beginning with field recordings; birds, noise and the sound of the gallery space itself, Bolton establishes a strong sense place from the off which immediately locates us within the piece. Long formed waves patiently exhale, weaving a sinuously textured back drop punctuated by the chiming notes at irregular intervals. Throughout the lifetime of the piece we’re given a number of different view points and consequently emotions; sometimes delivered by warming processed drones and plucked guitar, sometimes by lack of these, focusing on noise and negative space.
That ‘Chimes…’ is a successful piece is without question. As an artefact that expands the existence of a visual object – LeWitt’s drawing – the piece both prolongs its lifetime and offers new meaning and interpretations. Not only does it do this, but is able to stand alone as its own object of beauty, open for yet more meaning and interpretation by the listener who have not seen the source inspiration.” – Futuresequence
“Wil Bolton is a british composer who caught my attention with his superb debut Time Lapse released on Hibernate in 2010. I remember quite clearly how beautiful and delicate his music sounded the first time I heard it. It was ambient music as defined by Brian Eno, “An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint […] Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think. Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”
Time Lapse had this sonic perfume quality that I very much liked on albums such as On Land or The Pearl, and it was both powerful and subdued, demanding focus and attention to fully appreciate its beauty.
For the last year or so, Bolton has been busy with two new wonderful projects, Chimes for a Wall Drawing released on Cathedral Transmissions and Melt released on Rural Colours. Being very different in scope and ambition, Chimes for a Wall Drawing is an hour-long live album and Melt is a 20-min studio EP, both records are undoubtedly very ‘Bolton’ in atmosphere and delicacy.
Chimes for a Wall Drawing is a recording of a performance given by Wil Bolton at Tate Liverpool in August 2009, inspired by the gallery’s display of Sol LeWitt’s ‘Wall Drawing #1136′. Using a subdued sonic palette made of chime bars, handbell, electric guitar, field recordings and electronics, Bolton creates a slowly moving sound world that ebbs and flows majestically on a bed of reverberated drones in a space wide open. Chimes motifs come and go, familiar guitar tones are slowly deconstructed to congeal into -menacing at times- long swells and pastoral field recordings imprint some delicate narrative to this sonic journey. A journey reminding of Eno’s Thursday Afternoon in terms of drifting motion, but very different in mood and atmosphere. Bolton manipulate tension and release to give his work a well defined contour that echoes perfectly the undulating structures of LeWitt’s wall drawing. Moving through the different sections of the work is like moving through colours and observing them for their sheer tactile quality. By the end of this wonderful album, Bolton music feels like bathing in sound, or floating on a pond whose surface reflects the morning light – a truly moving and intoxicating experience. ” – Static Sound