Friday, April 6, 2012

Eric Chenaux

Finally...a review. Eric Chenaux Guitar & Voice Constellation Much like certain Loren Mazzacane Connors recordings, Eric Chenaux’s Guitar & Voice straddles the boundaries of experimental improvisation and song-based composition. This latest project, which Chenaux calls an extended meditation on balladry, includes four songs with vocals, one extended guitar solo and four compositions in bowed guitar, all composed and performed solely by Chenaux. The vocal pieces are the initial draw here, drawing the listener in with melody, but surrounding these melodies with prickly, unexpected instrumental elements. Chenaux’s voice expands haunting, jazz-tuned melodies from the inside. His voice is weightless, haunting, alighting on words and phrases without putting pressure on them, then skittering up an octave or so for spectral climaxes. He sounds very much like Jeff Buckley in spots, particularly the long, lovely “Dull Lights (White and Grey).” He is prone to the sudden swoops, the free-form syllable-bending runs. Vocal phrases are widely spaced, allowing Chenaux the time to comment, to revise, to inject via his other voice, the guitar. On “Dull Lights (White and Gray),” you hear slow, lingering runs of plucked notes, arcing off like a riposte to Chenaux’s observations. A chord serves as home; from there, the guitar ventures out in twisting folk cadences, some altered and given physical weight with bends and taps and the audible weight of fingers on strings. Later, “However Wild the Dream” pulls the trick, grounding Chenaux’s airy, otherworldly song in a tangible, physical mesh, of plucked intervals, strummed resolutions and an enveloping, grounding drone. More

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