There aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to define my affection for the new Eric Chenaux record, Guitar & Voice. It’s not a passionate love that will burn out suddenly and be forgotten, it’s a scar or birthmark I’ll carry forever. The back story is not shared casually over drinks, displayed on a wall or celebrated with grand declaration. No, those feelings are saved for the most intimate of situations when precious few eyes and ears are present.
Eric’s choice of title is humble and almost apologetic. This is all I have, all I can offer. To Chenaux, maybe these songs are just a voice and a guitar and he has little choice but to present them in this fashion, but he possesses a voice unlike many others and his guitar is transformed to sound like anything but. Guitar & Voice is more a challenge than a submission; this is what can be done with simple tools in the right hands.
When he sings, Chenaux’s airy vocals magically, or more accurately impossibly, move mountains and melt ice. Rich in tone and subtle notes, this voice is best consumed like a red; it expands when given air to breath, revealing surprising depth. Remarkably, even with such a gift, his true charisma is revealed through his manipulation of his trusted instrument. Unknowing listeners could be convinced this one man is a really a orchestra and his fragmented symphonies require a conductor and wait for woodwinds, brass and percussion. His bowed strokes and distortion sound of strings, of earlier eras. They touch on chaos, fragmented thoughts, reflection and pure love. Chenaux transforms drones and blasts into impact and heart. He’s able to harness seemingly free formed meandering with an excitement that demands an attention almost forgotten today.
I don’t really know why I love this record so much. Guitar & Voice is, ultimately, simply a voice and a guitar and perhaps his stark presentation is why the connection is so powerful. Chenaux’s compositions have an intensity that is not often found in such precious pieces, but the open ended nature of the songs let the listeners consume the songs fully and completely. Considering how Eric morphs reality, Guitar & Voice feels more like real life than anything I’ve heard in years. These moments of joy, agonizing frustration, warmth and triumph are best presented as reassurance. If it only takes six-strings and the courage to sing, we’ll be ok.
MP3:: Eric Chenaux - Amazing Backgrounds