Sometimes you gotta keep the unknowing masses at a distance. That’s what Eric Chenaux must have thought, because Skullsplitter is not filled with extremely hardcore techno. In fact, it’s overflowing with gentle and beautiful soundscapes, straight from his skull to the vinyl. Maybe that’s where the name comes from.
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Continuing Constellations’ winning streak with exceptional releases from Ought and Last Ex is a little album of massively deconstructed folky pop from the Canadian bard Eric Chenaux, chock full of melodica action, because you can’t get more folk than a melodica.
Actually the melodica here always sounds much bigger than the usual novelty use, amplified to organ warmth and intensity by the master mixers at Hotel2tango. But this is far from the central sound of Skullsplitter, which isn’t actually about bodily mutilation. It’s a record of strung out and abstracted Sinatra-country-folk guitar with songs that lie on the edge of falling apart as they flow on their lovely course. Pitches waver as if recorded on a fucked tape machine with a bear sitting on the whammy bar. All is serene and bliss in the world of Eric Chenaux, embossed by various shades of broken.
One constant for Skullsplitter is his subdued but clear voice, singing over his malfunctioning time capsules, an island of sense in the nonsensical. It’s a bit like one of Jeff Buckley’s moments of calm, the beatlessness reinforcing the record’s tentative fragility. Anyway I can get as poetic as I want with this, but it’s easier to give it a listen and just soak up some nice, honky guitar songs.
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- Skullsplitter by Eric Chenaux
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