Chrissie Caulfield, who’s based in Leeds, England, has a broad understanding of the violin and of ambient music. She pushes both well past their assumed identities. In her hands the violin is a sound source for myriad tweakings and warpings, transformations and embellishments. Likewise, her ambient music is rarely static, rarely free of developmental process. It’s rarely even peaceful.
“Ambient Improv,” a recent track she uploaded to her SoundCloud account yesterday, may not even have a violin in it. She lists the instrumentation as Blofeld (the synthesizer, not the James Bond villain) and Montage (presumably the Yamaha synth), though perhaps the violin is so implicit in her work that she doesn’t even think to mention it. The piece is a spacey mix of heavy oscillations, burpy grace notes, and nearly sub-aural hums that radiate when played with a proper woofer. It changes as it proceeds, from horror-movie organ chords to otherworldly sci-fi touches.