On Silver, multi-instrumentalist Charles-Eric Charrier directs his collaborators Ronan Benoit, and Cyril Secq, through a lesson in tension and release. Dismissing genre boundaries Silver deftly plants its roots on a plateau in a strange land somewhere between the worlds of psychedelic post-rock, electronic, improv jazz and modern composition. Over the course of five movements, Charrier and company illustrate how to successfully kaleidoscope an eclectic range of influences into a cohesive and unique whole. From the smokey sludged psych rock blues jam of 21 Echoes, the jazz lounge pitter-pat of brushed snares and tapped hats coalesced with analog synth and brass vibrations on 12 From, to the plucked and bowed folk strings and hand drums of 9 Moving, Silver draws a new musical blueprint for the post-everything generation.
Charles-Eric Charrier, half of the duo MAN alongside Rasim Biyikli known most recently for their 2005 album Helping Hand on Sub Rosa, has recorded multiple albums, film scores, and collaborative projects with painters and choreographers. He also writes and records solo as Oldman, and has collaborated with numerous artists and musicians including Sid Toure (Thrill Jockey), Mathias Delplanque (Lena), Rob Mazurek, Jérôme Paressant (abraxas projekt), The Clogs, Orange Blossom, Rhys Chatham, Teamforest, The Floating Roots Orchestra, and Le Coq.
21 Echoes Short
9 (8) Electricity
21 Echoes (Extended)
12 From (Field Rotation Remix)
12 From (Saffronkeira Remix)
All songs by: Ronan Benoit, Charles-Eric Charrier, Cyril Secq
Directions in music by: Charles-Eric Charrier
Recorded & Mixed by: Cyril Secq
Produced by: Cyril Secq and Charles-Eric Charrier
Mastered by: Taylor Deupree
Photography & Design by: Jeremy Bible
What's the world coming to when it takes a guy like me 3 years to review a release on Experimedia? Shameful, I know. Well, it's time for that to change because this label is consistently killing it with the most awesome freshness in cool shit. And Charles-Eric Charrier is the first in hopefully many more, because this dude has got something special goin on. Charrier is one half of MAN along with Rasim Biyikli, and he's done a thousand and one collaborations with every cool cat around. Silver has him taking a beautiful blend of psych & free jazz, creating a hypnotic and constantly morphing spiral of jams. The opening track is prime Western groove material, with dusty percussion that skitters like tumbleweeds and meandering guitars set in slow riffs getting their buzz & grit on under wide open blue skies. The second piece is more evil, a possessed hermit whipping out his busted vintage synths & radio transmitters, making swampy electro drones and garbled alien space blasts, all while some mad genius in the back swaggers on the drum kit. A fucking journey and a half, going places I didn't know existed with mournful trumpets and stuttering guitars, back and forth unsettling tension and smoothed out relaxing tones. And that's just the A side, from there it goes in all directions jazzier, noisier, etc, etc. It gets more frantic, numerous staggered layers of piano, acoustic guitar, electronics, and hidden percussion, slowed down single bass strings resonating with fluttering Americana, lush cymbals & dry shakers, hollow toms chugging down the railroad, steel plucking in the heat of the night, blistering battles of scratching stars & bats terrorizing the valley, the kind of jazziness that's right up my alley aka not too heavy on the jazz. Silver is definitely a winner on all accounts. Charrier's got some twisted vision of contemporary free jazz that I've yet to see elsewhere and I'm all for it because this record is fuckin HOT. Some seriously top notch shit, obviously it should've been called Gold.
Charles-Eric Charrier is a multi-instrumentalist who lives and works in Nantes, France, and says he's recorded nearly two dozen albums. For his latest work, Silver, Charrier played most of what's on the record: bass, piano, trumpet, metallophone, charango and what he calls "breath." Longtime collaborators Ronan Benoit and Cyril Secq also sat in on the sessions: Benoit covered percussion while Secq handled guitar, organic synthesizer and additional metallophone and charango. As far as how long the three have worked together, Charrier says, "[I] don't remember well, because I've got this fabulous impression to [have] known them since a very long time, maybe before Jurassic." Perhaps that's why the album's recording process wrapped in just four sessions — that's one week total. That sort of obsessive commitment and well-rounded instrumentation is what makes Silver resound. It starts as a faint glow, growing in brightness with each sparse snare-drum strike. Slow, Nancy Sinatra-esque guitar cuts through the psychedelic, seductive rhythms of the opening track. Unfathomably, those same slap-backed strings assimilate into the wall of emotive sound. Classic brush-drumming is paired with ambient samples in the following track, "12 From," catapulting the sound into space-jazz territory. Charrier says he listened to a lot of African and Arabian records during the Silver sessions. Those influences are evidenced in the subtle warbling of "9 Moving," with its strings rising wildly before coiling into an exhausted heap.
OMGvinyl.com - "100% essential"
Our good friends at Experimedia have a new record to release, always cause for celebration around these parts. On "Silver", Charles-Eric Charrier explores slow-burn jazzy psychedelia to near perfection. If Earth had started five years ago instead of twenty, this is what their first record would've sounded like. There are five long songs here, a hefty full-length for sure, and another must-have in the world of experimental music. 100% essential.
Fluid Radio Review
Sound engineer friends often tell me drums are the hardest component of live music to record well - it takes hours to mic a drum kit up, and wrestling with the results for hours is often tedious screwdriver work. It's one easy way to gauge the proficiency of the engineer, so it's the first thing a lot of wonks listen to and comment on when they assess music. So it's a fairly brassy and confident move to open with over a minute's worth of unaccompanied drum work on Charles-Eric Charrier's new release "Silver", putting both the musicianship and recording quality front and centre for all to see (or hear). The instrumentation that follows does not display any less confidence, almost swaggering in its surety. There are two distinctly separate and equally crucial elements that make up the record - the aggressive technical virtuosity of the players, and the intelligent sound design and mastering of the audio engineers. So colour me surprised to find, upon examining the liner notes, that the players and engineers are one and the same. Charrier is listed as a producer, and Cyril Secq (perhaps best known for his work in Astrid) is listed amongst the players and also credited with recording and mixing. The release information from Experimedia drops the phrase "post-everything" in relation to genre, and that's an entirely appropriate description; there are familiar elements to a lot of the sounds, but they are approached and collated in such a way that the final result remains distinctive and original. Opening track '21 Echoes Short' is a good example of this - the aforementioned drum intro blending into a lithe repeating bass motif, over which overdriven and reverbed guitars are layered. The jazz/Americana/proto-punk elements are defined and refined over the space of just shy of nine minutes, and the drums again cement themselves as the backbone of the exercise. '12 From' has a Cinemascope introduction; cymbals washing across the speakers. The sound design becomes the focus, with the playing sounding like it's emanating from inside the filament of a light globe. Hydroponic experimental jazz. '6I' is an exercise in dynamics, starting with searing post-rock guitar, then devolving into minimalist instrumental clatter and tweak. Some interesting Eastern dynamics from all involved, with some deliberately under-produced immediacy. '9 Moving' continues on in this vein - a restrained and loping drone-esque patter that reaffirms the confidence of all involved. As a whole, the release is something of an achievement on all levels - it captures the immediacy and consideration from the players involved, the diligent efforts in their audio capture and it is capped off by the stellar mastering of the ubiquitous Taylor Deupree. Deupree has drawn out the character of the piece, and polished it to a shine without removing any of the dust. "Silver" is a rewarding experience, with plenty to offer those with an interest in either sound or music. To those with an interest in both, it'll be a reward in itself. We're in the process of trying to organise a chat with the people involved over the coming weeks. Stay tuned. The album drops as both vinyl and deluxe packaged CD on 25th January 2011. - Review by Alex Gibson
Un jour, Charles-Eric Charrier m'avait confié qu'il souhaitait arrêter la musique. Il ne trouvait plus de sens à ce qu'il faisait, que tout cela était vain, que c'était beaucoup d'énergie dépensée pour rien et pensait qu'il était temps pour lui de passer à autre chose. La déception est grande quand on sait ce que le gaillard a été capable de faire que ce soit dans Man, ses propres projets (Oldman, Charles C.Oldman...) ou ses collaborations (Rob Mazurek, Jérôme Paressant, Clogs, Rhys Chatam, The Floating Roots Orchestra, Sid Toure). Les mois ont passé et je retrouve Charles-Eric appaisé, plus serein et, surtout, à nouveau gagné par cette envie de jouer. A présent, c'est tout simplement le plaisir de créer qui prime chez lui. Le reste n'a plus vraiment d'importance. Et tel qu'on le connait, il ne se prive pas pour mettre sur pieds des albums toujours aussi iconoclastes. Ainsi on l'a d'abord vu réapparaitre sur le net-label Isolationism Records pour lequel il a fait deux albums (Accortiste et Fanfares). Cependant, celui dont il est le plus fier est sans doute Silver, projet qui a connu bien de péripéties avant d'être publié par le très bon label Experimedia. Elaboré avec Cyril Secq (Astrïd) et Ronan Benoit, masterisé par Taylor Deupree, Silver, purement instrumental est, une fois de plus, un album habité par les ambiances en clair-obscur. Non pas que Charrier fasse tout le temps la même chose (ce serait exagéré et, finalement, mal connaitre son travail) mais il semble aimer trouver l'inspiration dans ces atmosphères flottantes à mi-chemin entre le nocturne et la pleine lumière. Silver semble être un disque feutré mais ce ne sont que les apparences car Charrier s'emploie à rajouter des distorsions, des éléments plus abruptes ou plus rêches afin que le disque soit autre chose que l'incarnation d'une musique d'habillage sonore. Bien entendu, Silver va plus loin que ce que l'on peut s'imaginer. Il accorde une grande importance aux vagabondages, ce genre d'instants uniques où l'on reste seul avec soi même et pendant lesquels on peut se laisser aller à toutes les rêveries. Avec ses musiciens, Charles-Eric Charrier se pare d'habits sonores oniriques et fantasmagoriques qui laissent notre imagination se développer librement. Et c'est de cela dont il s'agit. La musique de Charles-Eric Charrier est libre, sans frontières, inventive et, surtout, elle ne se répète jamais, allant toujours de l'avant pour se réinventer à chaque fois. Il est inutile d'apposer des étiquettes sur la musique du nantais puisqu'elle appartient à aucune famille en particulier. Chacun pourra interpréter Silver comme il le souhaitera mais la meilleure chose à faire est de le prendre comme il vient, sans se poser de questions. Ce sera la seule manière de se l'approprier complêtement.
Fluid Radio Interview
So impressed were we with our advance copy of Experimedia's "Silver" by Charles-Eric Charrier that we immediately asked to be able to speak to him about the album. Charles and co-producer/engineer/musician Cyril Secq were good enough to take some time out and answer some questions about the recording and their plans for the release.
Charles is a consummate creator - artist, musician, collaborator, painter; he was also good enough to provide us with some copies of his paintings to run alongside the discussion. There are also more you can view on his Myspace page.
Charles, you're credited in the liner notes with "directions in music". Does this mean you're the coordinator of the players, or the driving force behind the compositions?
Charles: It's two things - it's my spirituality driving the project, in the first time, one idea comes to the "surface" and I'm falling in love with it, second time I try to explain or talk with the guys about what I feel and after, I leave them free to play what they feel. I'm a sort of "guardian" to the first way...
And the second thing is a wink of an eye to Miles Davis.
Was the material improvised in the studio, or was it rehearsed beforehand?
Charles: Alone at home, I played and just after I shared that with the guys, not in a finished way but like possible directions, during the recording, we leave the things that happened, it's more a question of own opening.
Cyril: Maybe, to be more precise, Charles had bass lines and they were recorded live with drums; the idea was to leave space for other instruments. That was the first session. Then we did "overdubs", mainly guitars and keyboards. It was to respect the pieces as skeletons but also to lead them elsewhere, keeping immediacy. It was to keep in mind the urgency and not to spend too much time on each instrument track (it is mostly a one shot recording session).
Yourself and Cyril are listed as the producers, and Cyril is listed as the recorder and mixer. Does this mean the project was entirely recorded by yourselves?
Charles: Yes, true... I don't like professional's studios, I don't like to leave money by the window for nothing... but the first reason and principal reason is the fact I like how Cyril recorded the materials and the sharing between us.
Cyril: I have been recording bands, mainly mine (astrid) for about ten years and I like that, and Charles knew it.
Sound is a personal thing and approach, hard to leave in another's hands...
In that way we can spend time on it, having distance from the record and go back whenever we want to.
Where was the project recorded, and how long did it take? Did it take time, or did it happen quickly?
Charles: We recorded in my house, live drum and bass, a second time in Cyril's house for the rest...for the second part of your question it's not really easy to answer with precision, the sessions weren't longer (something like 3 days) but spread out one year.
How did Taylor Deupree become involved in the mastering? Were there specific aspects of the recording you wanted highlighted, or was his brief to approach it with fresh ears?
Charles: This is a story between Jeremy Bible, (Experimedia) and Taylor, and it was a good idea because Taylor understood well "Silver" and his mastering went in the same way, a good sharing between us. It was a choice to leave him free when Jeremy proposed to me Taylor's work.
Are there plans to tour the release in 2011, or are you planning to record again?
Charles: Not tour, but some gigs. Yes, another recording called "Petite Soeur" with the same guys and a percussionist... and a project articulate in 3 parts. First, tapes and voices. Second, viole de gambe, 2 metalophones and tapes. The last : percussions, bass, electric piano, prepared guitar and electroacoustique with toys.
I'd say that if those shows came anywhere near your vicinity, they'd be worth going out of your way to see.
Thanks to Jeremy@Experimedia for putting us onto Charles and Cyril, and thanks to both of them for their work in overcoming the language barrier - any mistakes in translation are mine and mine alone.
"Silver" is released in January 2011, on vinyl and CD.
- Interview by Alex Gibson for Fluid Radio
Multi-instrumentalis Charls-Eric Charrier vormt de helft van het experimentele Franse duo Man, waarvan we binnenkort ook eindelijk weer een nieuwe release van mogen verwachten. Hij laat hier samen met Ronan Benoit en Cyril Secq horen hoe je op geweldige wijze spanning kunt opbouwen en het geluid op de juiste wijze doseert. Dat doet hij met iets dat het midden houdt tussen experimentele, psychedelische postrock, improvisatorische jazz en flarden Americana en hardcore. Ondanks dat kop en staart vrijwel ontbreken weet de muziek je stevig bij de lurven te grijpen. Vrije muziek van een uitzonderlijke schoonheid.