Arrowounds is the project of Columbus-based sound artist and musician Ryan S Chamberlain. One year after Artificial Sun and after 2020’s Heterotropic, he announced the release of a new album. The Loneliness of Deep Sea Diver is out on July 17th via Lost Tribe Sound and it is part of a new series called Fearful Void. “Sunken Phantoms” is the first excerpt.
According to the press release, What began for Chamberlain as a simple concept of exploring his sound within the expanse of aquatic lore, quickly evolved into a storyline regarding an unnamed nautical exploration attempt that tragically unravels. Ultimately, this results in the title character being trapped below the surface by an event. Struggling with fear, paranoia and hallucinations brought on by sensory deprivation & oxygen levels, the diver fights to make sense of what is real and what is imagined in the depths.
The themes of ‘The Loneliness…’ became sort of an analogy of Chamberlain’s feelings in his role as a caregiver to someone close to him suffering through cancer treatments, the confusion and loss of power and understanding in the midst of such a trying experience. Struggling for clarity in the quieter moments and using sound to maintain a semblance of balance and buoyancy in life, these recording sessions provided clarity for Chamberlain. The music allowed him to communicate emotions he was unable to fully comprehend or verbalize.
It began with what Chamberlain calls “tape loop therapy.” He started to spend time layering loops and sounds, rhythm and decay. It became a sort of meditation process of strictly being in the moment and not worrying about an end result. Only after a few weeks did patterns begin to take shape and songs begin to emerge. Small glimmers in a sea of obscured sound. A pair of dual works were extracted, each exploring different facets of this unique and trying time. ‘The Loneliness of the Deep Sea Diver’ represents the insular or hermetic portion of these sessions, while ‘The Oncotype Sketchbook’ (out now on Pyramid Blood Recordings) incorporates more of the hospital field recordings and an overall narration of the entire cancer survivor experience.
The results are startling and surreal in their openness, while also emotionally complex for a multitude of reasons. Chamberlain would be satisfied if even a fraction of this translates during the listening experience. Though, we here at LTS believe that in some ways his feelings of claustrophobia, isolation, lack of control, and the ultimate leveling off of emotion that comes with acceptance, just might land close to home for many.