TALsounds makes ambient music we can only dream of on Acquiesce | Music Review | Chicago Reader

TALsounds makes ambient music we can only dream of on Acquiesce 

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click to enlarge Natalie Chami

Natalie Chami

Maria Tzeka

It’s easy to get the impression that Natalie Chami dreams in music—she’s immersed in it in practically every minute of her waking life. By day, she teaches choir, vocal technique, and music technology at the Chicago High School for the Arts. She spends her free time immersed in Chicago’s experimental-music community, making noisy drones as one-third of Good Willsmith and exploring ambient soundscapes with her solo project, TALsounds. In the decade or so that Chami has been active, she's become a crucial contributor and even one of the faces of the city’s contemporary avant-garde electronic scene. She has a gift for elevating her wafting synths and spectral vocals into something that verges on the mystical, and she continues to use it masterfully on the fifth TALsounds album, Acquiesce (NNA Tapes). Chami recorded this material between spring 2018 and summer 2019, improvising her soothing meditations while reflecting upon changes in her life, including the meaningful relationship she’d built with her fiance. Her overdubbed vocals often shroud the sense of what she’s singing, but on the cinematic “Muted Decision” her lightly plinking seaside synths create nuanced shifts in mood all on their own.   v

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