Description of Problem

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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson

Sound designer Richard Chartier's work as Pinkcourtesyphone is a far cry from the reductionist sound studies recorded under his own name. The project constructs cinematic, narrative soundscapes consisting of billowing, melancholy ambient loops and noir-like spoken samples, all bathed in an ethereal echo. Chartier's sense of pacing is impeccable; his ominous tracks keep the listener on edge, utilizing sounds that emulate slowly walking footsteps or chirping crickets to build tension. Composer William Basinski guests (via voicemail) on the album's opening piece, "Description of Problem/More Everything," and some of the album incorporates decaying effects similar to Basinski works such as The Disintegration Loops. "Our Story" is darker, abrasive, and more rhythmic, and features AGF whispering lyrics about shadows and spells. Even more haunting is the near 20-minute "Boundlessly," during which Cosey Fanni Tutti starkly tells a tale of an abused woman. Most heartbreaking of all is the closing track, a truly affecting song called "I Wish You Goodbye," which combines Evelina Domnitch's soft, fading voice along with loops of swelling strings. Astonishing and otherworldly, Description of Problem is easily Pinkcourtesyphone's apex.

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