Eric Chenaux‘s Slowly Paradise and Skullsplitter, released in 2018 and 2015 respectively, both made it to our Albums Picks of the Year and remain active favourites. Four years on from his last album release, we’re a little bit more than excited to learn that the hugely gifted experimental guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter has a new album on the way. Entitled Say Laura, the album is packed with the singular and skilful guitar and honeyed voice that made his previous records so wonderful. Equal parts intuitive and learned, the album is a mesmerizing affair that “bring[s] Chenaux’s semi-improvised but keenly intentional songwriting to its fullest, clearest, warmest and coolest articulation; uncompromising and generous, hyper-specific and loose, spartan and luxurious, elemental and ornate”, as the press release describes.
Citing various influences such as Sun Ra, Jeanne Lee, Gang Starr, Charlie Parker, Betty Carter, EPMD and Thelonious Monk, on Say Laura Chenaux builds on a foot-pedal technique he’d has previously used. He explains:
“I wrote a lot of the beats to this record while listening to other musics.
Playing a beat along with the recordings on my Boss drum machine.
These rhythms were then used to gate (noise gate) or open the harmony of the chords rhythmically.
To find rhythmic lines to sing and play with.
Sun Ra: The Night Of The Purple Moon with its slow bass driven grooves.
And a lot of hip hop, a lot of Gangstarr and EPMD (the first hip hop I encountered in the late 80’s and early 90’s)
Then these rhythms were repurposed into other forms.
Slowed down, for the most part.
Beats taken out to create space.
To make inferred beats.”