Slowly Paradise
CST131      CD 180gLP MP3 FLAC
Reviews
"A singer and songwriter possessed of angelic sweetness and clarity accompanying himself with largely improvised, visceral guitar textures that seem intent on undermining and obscuring his own songs. It’s the need to communicate tussling with the urge to obfuscate; lucidity versus opacity; form against chaos."
The Wire (Cover story, November 2017)

"This is a remarkable record - it is wildly experimental and as comforting as a soft embrace. The way he takes from the singer-songwriter tradition and from the avant-garde somehow enables him to avoid the pitfalls of both, leaving him free to sculpt his own deeply idiosyncratic vision for songwriting. The most interesting art almost always has a sense of duality, and Slowly Paradise is no different; where it radically differs is in the lack of combat between those opposing forces. Chenaux’s love for Sade, for example, in no way contradicts or confuses his love for Derek Bailey. This all-encompassing spirit coalesces on closing track and highlight ‘Wild Moon’, where Chenaux's voice is at its most rapturous, over Driver's restrained but romantic Hammond organ lines, all interwoven with some of the most perplexing guitar workouts on the record. This album is truly his strongest yet, and this closing song is his zenith."
The Quietus

"Eric Chenaux gets right under the skin and in your head with the intoxicating, jazz-wise chops and strikingly classic-sounding vocals of Slowly Paradise; an instant modern classic if we’ve never heard one!"
Boomkat

"This voice is perhaps the funnel for this unfurling of thought, where the splay of feeling is consolidated into phrases. His tone is soft, verging on a whisper, as though straddling the boundary between inner thoughts and outward articulation. Sometimes it falls silent, allowing stuttering stylophones or trembling guitars to carry the monologue forth, alternating between the poetry of language and that which spirals away from what the voice can express. I imagine Chenaux to be daydreaming in these moments, as these instrument solos – sometimes chiming like bells, sometimes melting like wax – paint pictures in the air, trying to enact the images that stream through the mind, vivid and beautiful, yet also fluid and unexplainable."
ATTN:Magazine
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Eric Chenaux makes conceptual music that’s not meant to sound conceptual. He operates among various 'traditions' but perhaps most broadly, Chenaux's records grapple with the relationship between improvisation and structure in very particular, unique, idiosyncratic ways – and quite without irony or cynicism, through love.
 
Because fundamentally, Chenaux writes love songs, which he sings in a voice honeyed and clear, while his guitar gently bends, frazzes, chortles, diverges and decomposes. This juxtaposition of his mellow, dexterous crooning and his highly experimental (and equally dexterous) guitar explorations, explodes even unconventional notions of singing and accompaniment, of tonal and timbral interplay between guitar and voice.
 
As a solo artist, Chenaux's improvisation methods are in certain literal ways solipsistic: as a singer-songwriter, he plays his guitar around and against his voice, challenging easy notions of harmony/harmoniousness, improvising 'with himself' in pursuit of surprising himself (and his listeners) as he unfurls ribbons of voice and instrument often to the point of seeming independence, all the better to capture­­ – and be captured by – unforeseen, intimate moments of interdependence: a definition of freedom, as a profoundly intentional state of openness, presence and play.
 
Even within avant-garde currents of folk and jazz balladry, Eric Chenaux feels like an outlier. Yet his music remains wonderfully warm, generous and fundamentally accessible in spite of its irrefutable iconoclasm. While the constitutive elements of Chenaux’s solo work in recent years might suggest some underlying devotion to asceticism, the opposite is much more true: his musical reveries resist, critique and counteract austerity (in all its forms) in a joyful abandonment to the improvised space where playfulness and light-heartedness are taken seriously, and where love is invoked and expressed, without reductive or facile sentimentalism, in a full, nuanced, clear-eyed suspension/rejection of the cynical life.
 
Slowly Paradise is Eric Chenaux’s new solo record – a lovely collection of mostly long songs guided by soothing, buttery singing and bent, fried fretwork. It is arguably Chenaux’s most assured and essential solo work, expanding upon the critical acclaim his previous releases Guitar & Voice and Skullsplitter have rightly garnered.
 
Thanks for listening.
 
 
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Packaging notes
Audiophile 180gram pressing in midnight ultra-black vinyl from Optimal (Germany) comes in a thick 24pt paperboard jacket printed on 100% recycled Orford cardstock, with black polylined paper dust sleeve, a 12"x24" poster printed on matte offset paper and a 320kbps MP3 download card.
 
CD comes in a custom 24pt paperboard mini-gatefold jacket printed on 100% recycled Orford cardstock with an inner dust sleeve housing the disc.
 
Tracklist
1. Bird & Moon (08:30)
2. Slowly Paradise (06:03)
3. An Abandoned Rose (06:25)
4. Slowly Paradise (Lush) (04:09)
5. There’s Our Love (05:46)
6. Wild Moon (11:05)
 
Release date: 09 March 2018
Running time: 41:58
 
 
Credits
PERSONNEL 
Eric Chenaux: vocals, electric and un-amplified electric guitar, drum, various electronics
 
GUESTS
Ryan Driver: Wurlitzer 200A
Marla Hlady: spinning microphones
 
Lyrics written in collaboration with Ryan Driver
 
Produced by Eric Chenaux and Cyril Harrison. Recorded and mixed by Cyril Harrison at Le Pouget and Danube, France, 2017. Additional recording by Eric Chenaux at Avatar, Québec and by Sandro Perri at Sonology, Toronto. Mastered by Harris Newman.
 
Album artwork and design by Mariette Cousty