Eric Chenaux – Warm Weather With Ryan Driver
Eric Chenaux is one of Toronto’s most prolific and respected musical iconoclasts, an experimental guitar virtuoso with over two decades of dedicated and diverse service to an artistic community that encompasses postpunk, lo-fi, folk, multi-media composition and performance (chiefly in collaboration with modern dance) and free and improvised music. Warm Weather With Ryan Driver is Eric’s third album for Constellation, which has been the conduit for his primary song-oriented solo work since 2006. Building on his fruitful collaboration with piano/synth/melodica player Ryan Driver – whose key role on the new album is signaled by his inclusion in its very title – the new record is without doubt Chenaux’s most accomplished and focused work of forward-looking, contemporary balladry.
Chenaux’s previous album Sloppy Ground was a masterful exploration of fried folkways wedded to improvisational/avant strategies – it was named one of the 50 albums of the year by The Wire magazine. Buzzing, winding melodic lines derived from Scottish folk tropes paced many of these songs, interspersed with expansive, atmospheric lullabyes that were noted by NPR’s All Songs Considered as “drop-dead gorgeous…earnest and heartfelt”. We certainly feel these words thoroughly apply to the new album as well.
Warm Weather With Ryan Driver envelops the twin tendencies of Sloppy Ground – ornate experimentation with extended melodic structures and cradling lullabye/love song ambience – in a newfound coherence and temperance. Chenaux’s use of nylon string guitar as the spine for almost every track (expertly captured by sound engineer Radwan Moumneh) is the most notable shift in instrumentation from its predecessor. The instrument establishes a slightly different but timbrally profound anchor for the new tunes. As the album title suggests, the record is unified by a kind of humid, languorous glue – the sort of atmosphere that Chenaux compares to “that weather where the skin and air see no difference in each other”. This sort of climatic metaphor was a touchstone for Chenaux’s approach to the arranging and recording, ably supported by Driver’s use of droning organs and synths and his delicately paced, gently jazz-inflected piano. The overall effect is often akin to an interstice of Talk Talk, John Martyn and Robert Wyatt. Chenaux produces some of the most mature, subtly sophisticated and satisfying avant-folk music we know.
The new full-length has already been foreshadowed by the Warm Weather 7" (on the Eat, Sleep, Repeat imprint) which has been called “gemlike… with a beguiled introspective glow” (Losing Today), “wistful and subtly romantic… truly lovely” (Textura) and “impressive nylon-string balladry enmeshing Chenaux’s half-whispered musings within a snare of tenderly-woven melancholy” (Record Collector).
We are thrilled to be releasing this third chapter in Eric Chenaux’s songbook for Constellation.
1. And So We Say
2. Since We’re Smokey
3. Warm Charleston
4. Lavallière #2
5. New Boon Harp
6. Mynah Bird
8. Cool Down
9. Warm Weather
10. Cold Dream
Running time: 00:48:05
LP comes in a thick 24pt. jacket with an 11"x11" art/credit print offset-printed in black on satin finish matte paper and a 10"x18" duotone + double black offset-printed poster in the first pressing, limited to 500 copies. Retail copies of the LP include a CD copy of the album; LPs sold through our webshop include an MP3 download of the album.
CD comes in a custom gatefold jacket printed on 100% recycled paperboard with a matte varnish.
Ryan Driver: synth, piano, voice, flute, street-sweeper bristle bass, electric organ
Jennifer Castle: voice
Michelle McAdorey: voice
Rob Clutton: double bass
Martin Arnold: electric organ
Nick Fraser: kick drum
Recorded by Radwan Moumneh at Thee Mighty Hotel2Tango. Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market. Produced by Eric Chenaux, Ryan Driver and Radwan Moumneh.