Shares title track “Say Laura” in full album and abridged radio edit versions
Eric Chenaux launches the album with a UK tour in March 2022
Say Laura is out 18 February 2022 on Deluxe 180gLP/CD/DL
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.
01 Hello, How? And Hey
02 Your New Rhythm
03 Say Laura
04 There They Were
05 Hold The Line
Release date: 18 February 2022
Eric Chenaux: vocals, electric guitar, un-amplified electric guitar, double-reed harmonica, various electronics
Ryan Driver: Wurlitzer 200A
All compositions Eric Chenaux
Lyrics written in collaboration with Ryan Driver
Recorded and mixed by Cyril Harrison at The Pouget, Condat-sur-Ganaveix and Music Unit, Montreuil
Additional recording by Sandro Perri at Sonology, Toronto
Mastered by Harris Newman
Album artwork and design by Mariette Cousty (featuring her ceramics)
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.
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.
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.
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