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.
William Brittelle is a Brooklyn-based composer of pop-influenced electro-acoustic art music. His work is characterized by the melding of complex thematic ideas, rhythms, and formal structure with the visceral power and surface appeal of pop/rock music.