WHETTMAN CHELMETS / QUALCHAN. “Theme∞Variations” C34 (Strategic Tape Reserve)


We couldn’t agree more, Strategic Tape Reserve. Two of your favorite artists on one tape? Try two of ours as well! Whettman Chelmets and qualchan. have both appeared on the STR roster in the past, Whettman with Doesn’t Remember… and qualchan. with the end of all seasons. (What is it with these guys and punctuation?) We here at Cassette Gods have written about the two of them as well – feel free to take advantage of the search functionality on this web page to dig around in the archives. Everything we’ve said about them is complimentary, I promise.  
So it’s a big deal that the two artists have gotten together, and the results speak for themselves. Whettman takes side A and riffs on a melody that qualchan. had sent him, employing a bag of compositional tricks to avoid making any one of the tracks sound like the others. Classical techniques? Of course! But he’s also grounded in his own skillset, the one where he makes thick drones and ambient shoegaze and what have you. But don’t take it from me! Take it from Chelmets himself. Go ahead, dig through that back catalog. Also the promo copy. (Hey, at least I cite the ideas that aren’t mine.)
And then qualchan. takes side B, and we’re thrust immediately into a tripped-out sample/loopfest inspired by nature (Oregon’s Cascade region), but nature shot through with neon electric currents. How qualchan. juxtaposes the two and gets away with it is beyond me (although it probably shouldn’t be if I’m writing about music, let’s be honest). It’s laid back but verging on the point of soundtracking a lysergic nature doc, which, obviously, would be a really cool experience. Plus everything fades in and out quickly, often in less than two minutes. Come to think of it, Whettman Chelmets’s side does that too, except substitute two minutes with three minutes.
There’s so much to explore here – you’ll be here checking this out for a while on repeat.