William Brittelle & ACME - Loving the Chambered Nautilus

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Release Date: June 26, 2012

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Loving the Chambered Nautilus is William Brittelle’s iconoclastic follow-up to the art rock epic Television Landscape. Unlike it’s predecessor, this album focuses on chamber virtuosity and intimacy. Guitars and vocals (aside from Caleb Burhans brief appearance on the closing title track) are conspicuously absent, recalling Radiohead’s startling OK Computer to Kid A transition. Loving the Chambered Nautilus was written specifically for the players of ACME merging the classical chamber music tradition with electronic retro-futuristic pop gestures. In each of these pieces, complexity and virtuosity coexist alongside visceral impact and surface appeal. 

The electronic components of these works mainly focus on vintage synthesizers and rudimentary drum machines, while the string playing most often buoyant and propulsive with interspersing moments of tenderness and calm. The pieces in the Future Shock series focus on visceral impact and power, while the prologue Acid Rain on the Mirrordome, the title track, and Loon Birds in Meshed Crystal attempt to capture a sense of catharsis and longing (while still being, at times, joyous). The title of the project is a reference to the Chambered Nautilus, a fascinating marine creature inhabiting a complex and beautiful shell. The inner chambers of the animal’s shell display a nearly perfect equiangular spiral, and it is often captured and killed for it’s beauty. Most uniquely, the Chambered Nautilus is comprised of both organic and inorganic material, with the line between being and shell often blurred to the point of becoming indiscriminate. This fluid duality (if there is such a thing) in effect mirrors the relationship between strings and electronics in this project, with both elements coexisting to the point of becoming one.

Press and News:

NPR Music: ”fresh integrations of classical and pop…a fun album for summer performed vibrantly by members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble.”

Gramophone: ”William Brittelle creates classical music that hip classical consumers ought to be listening to.”

eMusic: praises Brittelle’s “magpie-trickster ability to spin out new colors from odd groupings.”

ALARM Magazine Online: ”a highly psychological, imaginative experience of true musical sustenance.”

PopMatters: "Loving the Chambered Nautilus surmounts a lofty conceptual obstacle and becomes New Amsterdam’s strongest release of 2012, as well as growing proof that the so-called “indie classical” movement is truly making strides."

Rhapsody: “…listeners — whether “classical heads” or not — will be intrigued.”

New York Times: "…bright, joyous chamber works"

Textura: "What makes it particularly striking…is the deft manner by which it fuses the classical chamber music tradition and electronic pop genre… It’s roller-coaster music of passion and high energy that the five musicians tear into ferociously."

MUSO: ”This is a fast, fun, freedom-fueled flurry of a record… William Brittelle is clearly the Dan Deacon of contemporary classical.”

Classical TV: "William Brittelle is creating a body of work that has no precedent, and marks him as a one of the most promising heirs of the vital American maverick tradition."

My Old Kentucky: "Loving the Chambered Nautilus finds Brittelle continuing to challenge our preconceived notions about pop music, further blurring the distinction between organic and inorganic sound, as well as high and low art."