Stranger by Starlight – Chalk White Nights

August 16, 2013

chalk white nights

New release in the form of a collaboration between Oxbow frontman Eugene S Robinson and Anthony Saggers (aka Stray Ghost) out soon on the Bad Paintings label.

Eugene S Robinson is known for his performances that are full of emotion, where he almost seems to be releasing a demon from within. Often extremely physical, they borderline on dangerous. In this instance though, he’s adopted a softer, more controlled, yet still achingly painful approach to his performance. His prose recalls tales reminiscent of any great Burroughs novel and his delivery just makes each word have so much significance. The slower paced approach to this record just let us peer inside the wounds even more, tearing them apart to see the real hurt that lies just below the surface.

It’s not just Robinson on show here though. While his vocals tend to bear the brunt of the emotional turmoil, Stray Ghost’s instrumentation carries us deeper into that dark, sinister world. Subdued and minimal, his jazz influenced ambient soundscapes provide a back story that wouldn’t feel out of place in your favourite greyscale neo noir film, rife with distress and mystery. The last four-ish minutes of ‘An Organist’ finds this composed sound fall apart into a dark, heavy drone and it’s sounds just perfect. Musical bliss.

The two individual tones of both artists work brilliantly in this marriage. While there are some great collaborative efforts out at the minute (nod to Haino/O’Rourke/Ambarchi’s latest effort), there are also some frankly underwhelming ones. This works though. It’s meaty, tense and sounds dark as hell. I love it.

Chalk White Nights is out on Bad Paintings on 2nd September. Pre order it here.

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