Eric Chenaux – Guitar and Voice

These are raga pieces, parts of a whole and in some ways should be viewed as passages in one long dissertation. If approached in that manner then I’ll wager this is a great LP, and one to put on at an intellectual garden party near you.

 

(Constellation) http://www.konkurrent.nl

 

A soulful, beautiful listen and an LP that really should have been released about now - in time for summer – rather than in tempestuous, gloomy and grey-clad March. This is music for enchanted garden parties; the atmosphere hung heavy with the scent of roses, or for long sunsets, or for (pardon my French) just bumming around.

The title Guitar and Voice should give it all away, Eric Chenaux strips down his muse to the bare essentials, just his guitar and his voice. No overdubs, no help, nowt extra. It’s a sensual listen from the off; in Amazing Backgrounds Chenaux talks of brushing his lover’s hair… and throughout the vocals are deliberately long, lingering, mercurial; toying with words and phrases, allowing the impressions to sink into the listeners consciousness. The instrumental pieces – driven mainly by a bowed guitar - can be downright out there; they are meditative in tone and have a feel of a chamber orchestra in their mood and attack, or a bit like the tripped out sections in AR Kane’s 69. Sometimes as with Dull Lights (White or Grey) the jazzy elements give rise to the feeling that this could be the soundtrack to a hippy garden party – so Buckley-esque is the vibe. It’s airy, breathy music, made for a genial, understated display of guitar pyrotechnics along a scale, and shifts of vocal octave anchored in a droney omphalos of sound.

At time things can veer between the sublime and the ridiculous, Sliabh Aughty sounds for all the world like a drunk bagpiper trying to emulate a guitar wig out (the track’s greater sense does eventually triumph mind), whereas Put In Music is a beautiful, folky gossamer thing, that can’t help sliding elegantly down your walls, melting them in an incandescent glow while it does so. At times you feel as if Cheneaux is looking to test your patience with as much dissonance as he can muster: Le Nouveau Favori sounds like a Hungarian fiddle band tuning up after the odd glass of Pécs white. But it’s important to note that these are raga pieces, parts of a whole and in some ways should be viewed as passages in one long dissertation. If approached in that manner then I’ll wager this is a great LP, and one to put on at an intellectual garden party near you.