Prescient. A visit to the Phantom Channel website is greeted with the phrase “These Are Troubled Times” – as it has been for the last few months. Makes you wonder if the good people there knew something the rest of us didn’t. Anyway, one way to cheer yourself up through the financial doom and gloom and the imminent collapse of capitalism (or not) is to get hold of the latest mini album by Chaz Knapp. It’ll cost you significantly less than the £80 each and every one of us in the UK spent yesterday to shore up Bradford and Bingley. In fact it’ll cost you precisely £80 less, coz it’s free.
Knapp is one third of Our Brother The Native, and the six tracks that make up Vie comme un Parasite Faisant la fête represent his first solo work. “Le Chien Mort” and “Mort d’une Veuve Solitaire” are both solo piano pieces, whilst the other four add a string quartet into the mix. The opener is particularly good, using a sequence of rapid triads to build an effective, slightly sombre melody. The tracks with the string section are ambitious and stirring. Both “Le Fait de Couler du Navire” and “Celebration a une Nouvelle Vie” are excellent compositions, although the string playing is a bit ragged – a case of ambition outpacing ability. It’s a fault, but not a particularly important one in my view. And not just because it’s free. I will take ideas over execution any day. “Le Fait de Couler du Navire”, in particular, is a piece that I can hear in my head with a full orchestration – and it sounds stunning!
It’s a good thing that Phantom Channel are doing. Hopefully a lot of folk will take the opportunity to hear new music (legally) for nothing. Knapp’s album may be a little rough round the edges, but there is some really strong material on offer. Go grab yourself a copy (the link’s below).
01. Le Chien Mort 2:20
02. Mort D’une Vueve Soltaire 4:17
03. Le fait de Couler du Navire 4:39
04. Les Navires Perdus dans l’Obscurite 2:34
05. Celebration a une Nouvelle Vie 5:33
06. Question d’un Vide 10:14