ARTIST: Eric Chenaux
TITLE: Hello Eyes
PRICE: $15 USD
Eric Chenaux calls the music he makes “filthy swing,” which is also the title of a song in this new collection, ‘Hello Eyes.’ “And by filthy, I mean that the notes, phrases and melodies have a lot of noise, or extra bits, within them — noise that acts as kind of an ornament,” Chenaux wrote to us in a letter earlier this summer. “Filthy because it is not cleaned up.” In over a decade of listening to his music, we have never described it as “filthy.” We’ve called his jazz adjacent pieces “uncertain,” “woozy” and “wobbly.” On one of the many slow and drifting winter holidays spent listening to his 2015 album ‘Skullsplitter,’ we described the title track as “winelogged.” Usually these songs come accompanied with his high and breathy croon, as if Nick Drake had dedicated his career to inhabiting ‘Chet Baker Sings.’ That glorious voice is mostly absent on the musical travelogue that is ‘Hello Eyes,’ giving us more time to focus on this so-called “filthy swing.” The track “Filthy Swing” is a field recording of a band playing swing music in the square in Tarni, Italy over which Chenaux has offered just the ghost of his off-kilter guitar, one’s ear grasping at what is there and wondering what is not there at all. It is a haunting. The head-nodding title track is an homage to the artist Erykah Badu by way of Palace’s ‘Arise, Therefore,’ a curious and unsteady lead substituting for Badu’s voice. It’s a fittingly cheeky and playful tribute to one of the finest artists of the last 30 years. ‘Hello Eyes’ is not smooth, immediately lovable music. It resists our desire to smash that like button. It is craggy, pockmarked jazz. It sounds at odds with the modern aesthetic. It sounds like The Ghost of Christmas Past, warts and all, clamoring after us, showing us a type beauty we have sadly forgotten.
STREAM: Spotify / Bandcamp / Apple Music