With an opening track that channels from earlier work by Sigur Ros, Chris Campbell’s Things You Already Know brings contemporary classical music to the foreground, with ambience and emotion.
Launching from there headlong into ‘Lord Byron’ things crank up by several gears, incorporating some incredible sounds from homemade instruments. There are steely clanks, electronic bursts of bass noise, and bowed notes that skitter around sections that are reminiscent of some of Messiaen’s work.
‘Torso Of A Bodhisattva’ opens with tones much like that of Clint Mansell and his work with the Kronos Quartet — long and drawn out, filled with tension and lonely yearning, emphasised all the more by the wails and chimes that pitter-patter into the mix. There’s an eastern feel to the track at points, while remaining distinctly western sounding in its piano fundamentals.
The title track, ‘Things You Already Know’ sits in the middle of the album, a lonely piano solo that gently plays out its notes like a distant call that leads into the threatening tones of ‘Water Mirror’, which gradually evolves into a vast expanse of drifting tones that are episodic and ephemeral.
The most experimental moments on Things You Already Know are to be found on ‘Water Variations’, filled with oddities and clanks, with the track’s tone shifting and changing almost according to the whims of the performers. This some seriously fun avantgarde, should you have the stomach for it.
Closing with ‘Emptiness = Form’, a mirror of the album’s opening track, we are presented with a neat bookend that reminds us of where we began and that although we have come to the natural conclusion, we are more than welcome to go back to the start for a second listen.
By Chris Marsh