Sounding like he's playing jazz and folk influenced guitar pieces whilst sitting in the hull of a tugboat on a particularly windy day, Eric Chenaux has a totally unique seasick sound that is ripe with invention. He blurs the lines between avant garde modern composition and the type of lop-sided fretwork also explored by the likes of John Fahey and Richard Dawson.
- LP £19.49
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- CST131LP / 180g vinyl LP on Constellation. Comes in a thick 24pt paperboard jacket printed on 100% recycled Orford cardstock. Includes 12" x 24" art print poster
- Includes download code
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This guy is obsessed with Eric Chenaux and stunned by just how far he’s gone this time. Having slowly developed a spangly, highly affected guitar sound through a litter of pedals and a frantic knack for fret racing, Chenaux has spent his career revisiting and refining the folk songs he made early in his career. Records like ‘Sloppy Ground’ saw him present a near psychedelic rock outfit; his staggering ‘Warm Weather’ was a homespun record of love song. Here, he combines that cosy romanticism with what came out of his last record, ‘Skullsplitter’ -- his warbed, warbling plunges into surrealism come back up drenched in love.
These six songs meander through their odd, cerebral sounds even more than ‘Skullsplitter’ did, but they’re centered by Chenaux’s gorgeous lyrical proclamations. After a scramble of picks and improvisations on “An Abandoned Rose”, he comes back in sounding utterly smitten: “Who has found me?”, he sings in his typical coo, though it sounds like the closest thing he’ll get to a sudden splutter of emotion. On “Bird & Moon” he combines his sinking, wahing chords with tangled acoustic melodies as intricate as Richard Dawson, using his usual methods to absorb the listener before painting perfectly simple pictures: “Moonlight needs a little sky to make the warmest night”.
Chenaux sounds, in some ways, further and further from a tangible reality on this record, but even those moments sound off serenely to me. His instrumental reprise (dare I call it a remix?) of the record’s title track is an abstracted mesh of shifting tones and plucks, but hiding within it is a stay-at-home folksiness that makes me feel centered. The record’s final track and last triumph is “Wild Moon”, an eleven minute long slice of minimalism that lays down on a bed of soft, mallet-like percussion. Over it Chenaux exchanges spewed guitar solos and gorgeously sung thoughts, stray but certain: “Human love. Harmony. Come away with me. I’m a wild moon!”. It’s the stuff of a more free, more all-embracing Chenaux; 'Slowly Paradise' is made from tangled knots of the purest joy.
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