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Say Laura ©Sylvestre Nonique Desvergnes

Eric Chenaux comes to Brighton in support of his new album

Say Laura is Eric Chenaux‘s first solo album in four years and the most refined collection of avant-jazz ballads in his esteemed and uncompromising career: the guitar and voice follow-up to Chenaux’s acclaimed Slowly Paradise (2018) which landed him on the cover of The Wire (UK) among other accolades. Say Laura includes longtime collaborator Ryan Driver on Wurlitzer and features the impeccably detailed recording and mixing work of Cyril Harrison. An elemental album of fried and semi-improvised guitar, stately chordal pulse and consummate vocal warmth, Say Laura captures Chenaux at the height of his powers and at his very best.
Say Laura is a coproduction and co-release by Constellation and Murailles Music

The new record by Eric Chenaux is his most immaculate and pristine. Say Laura perfectly incarnates the counter-intuitive interplay of instrument and voice that Chenaux has been revealing and revelling in throughout the past decade: his gently unhinged juxtaposition of resplendently smooth, seductively assured singing and puckish, frazzled, thoroughly destabilised guitar could come from no other musician. The five wandering, wondering ballads on Say Laura bring 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.

Eric Chenaux Say Laura COVER

Say Laura might as well be a jazz record—certainly as much as his previously acclaimed albums Slowly Paradise and Skullsplitter tread that genre-adjacent territory—though it also features moments and melodies that come as close to pop flirtation as Chenaux is likely to get. But above all, Say Laura breathes like no other Chenaux album. Voice and guitar are inscribed with elemental clarity in a wondrously open, symbiotic sonic space. His pure tenor croon glides through a crisp, reverberant ether while his fried guitar careens dizzily and giddily, every gesture and timbre captured in unflinching detail by engineer Cyril Harrison.

Chenaux has also made his most minimal, controlled, regulated and rhythmic record. Citing a spectrum of influences—Sun Ra, Jeanne Lee, Gang Starr, Charlie Parker, Betty Carter, EPMD and Thelonious Monk—Say Laura expands on a foot-pedal technique Chenaux has previously used here and there, taking things to a more programmatic level: beats composed on a Boss drum machine are then slowed right down and used as noise gate triggers, inserted into his guitar signal path to create tempered pulses.

‘Say Laura’ Back Cover

Title track and lead single “Say Laura” is the centrepiece distillation of the album’s stylistic, compositional and spatial mission: sparse but lush, controlled but wild, every note in its place and all over the place.

Interviewed as The Wire magazine’s cover star in 2017, Chenaux said “the details of our lives are often produced with improvisation and experimentation and in my music, improvisation is a way to hear those details I would not likely be able to hear otherwise.” The details on Say Laura achieve new heights of lucid acuity. Eric Chenaux just keeps getting better, and Say Laura captures him at his best.

Eric Chenaux Live

UK • March 2022

01.03.2022 • Glad Café, Glasgow • Link

02.03.2022 • Burgess Foundation, Manchester • Link

03.03.2022 • Cube Cinema, Bristol • Link

04.03.2022 • Cafe Oto, London • Link

05.03.2022 • Rose Hill, Brighton • Link

 

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