After five decades of recording and touring, veteran British songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman has finally made what he calls his "American record," and the aptly titled 50 now stands as his late career masterwork, a moving legacy statement by a legend.
Backed by a collaborative group of friends and acolytes - Steve Gunn (who also produced), Nathan Bowles (Pelt, Black Twig Pickers), James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson), Jason Meagher (No-Neck Blues Band), Jimy SeiTang (Rhyton), and fellow UK songwriting luminary Bridget St John - Chapman tears into both bold renderings of new songs and radical reinterpretations of material from his revered catalog, the crack band adeptly scaling the same rarefied sonic heights of classic Harvest albums like Fully Qualified Survivor, guided by a true survivor's instinct, wit, and wisdom.
The result is a sublime chiaroscuro self-portrait, more shadow than light, as an invigorated Chapman wrestles with weighty themes of t ravel, memory, mortality, and redemption, his world-weary whispers assuming the incandescent power of prophecy.
The deluxe LP package includes tip-on jacket, printed inner sleeve, lyrics, and download card with two bonus tracks; the CD features a gatefold jacket, lyrics, and two non-LP bonus tracks.
The album includes both radical reinterpretations of obscure material from Michael’s catalog as well as three new compositions: “Sometimes You Just Drive,” “Money Trouble,” and “Rosh Pina.” A longstanding but freshly urgent preoccupation with (as Michael sings in a beloved early tune) “time past and time passing” is evident straightaway, from the album title and the first line of the first song through the final lyric of the record. Never before in his storied career has Chapman gazed so steadily into the abyss of time lost and regained; never before has he engaged so intimately with his legacy and the changing meanings of his own music over time.
That he manages to do so without succumbing to nostalgia or sentimentality bears testament to the steely fortitude of his ruminative, tough-minded songs, which survey both inscape and landscape with the same stoical detachment. With 50, Chapman faces mortality with both guitar and chainsaw in hand, and endures.
It’s the unguarded sound of Orpheus descending, the snake riding the guitar down the river Styx and returning upstream to tell his story.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1. "A Spanish Incident (Ramón & Durango) 2. "Sometimes You Just Drive 3. "The Mallard 4. "Memphis in Winter
Side B: 1. "The Prospector 2. "Falling from Grace 3. "Money Trouble 4. "That Time of Night
Polar Bear is the third album in Chapman’s series of his recent improvised musical series.
The first being 2011’s ‘The Resurrection and Revenge of The Clayton Peacock’ which Wire magazine nominated as No. 5 Album of The Year, was widely received favourably by press and fans alike as another highpoint in Chapman’s late blooming career which has been boosted by the public recognition of his talents by the likes of Thurston Moore, Jack Rose & Will Oldham.
The second album, 2012’s “Pachyderm’ was a minimalist masterpiece, a single chord ambient work quite unlike anything Chapman had ever done before and gained him further widespread supportive reviews and a sell out UK tour with a solo Thurston Moore. It is from that tour that comes the duo performing the noise epic “Six Two Thirteen“ on this new album “Polar Bear”.
The new record also sees Chapman experimenting with cello accompaniment, and some pieces featuring his own atmospheric slide guitar work. Further proof as it were needed of Chapman’s still restless search for new musical adventures.
At 73 years old, he is playing better than ever, having started out on EMI’s legendary 60’s Harvest record label, he only goes to show that stick with it and eventually your time will come.
Tracklisting: 1. Flowers In The Oven 2. The Polar Bear 3. Black Dirt On A Hot Day 4. Razorback Hat 5. The Old Inertia Reel 6. To See The Sea In C 7. Six, Two, Thirteen 8. Slidey Bit
This album is the second in Chapman’s series of his more improvised musical releases.
The first ,‘The Resurrection and Revenge of The Clayton Peacock”, released in 2011 was Wire magazine’s No. 5 Album of The Year, was widely received favourably by press and fans alike as another highpoint in Chapman’s late blooming career which has been boosted by the public recognition of his talents by the likes of Thurston Moore, Jack Rose & Will Oldham.
“Pachyderm’ is an LP length minimalist masterpiece, a single chord ambient work quite unlike anything Chapman has done before and equally as surprising and different as Peacock managed to be. The second track is remix of the first side by one Rob Antony, a young Cumbrian neighbour of Michael’s.
Together they form a mellow and gentling shifting work that easily beckons auto repeated plays.
Chapman is now 71 years old, and playing better than ever, he started out on EMI’s legendary 60’s Harvest record label, turned down playing in both Elton John then David Bowie’s “Spiders” band, he only goes to show as per the recent rediscovery of the talents of his other contemporaries Roy Harper or John Martyn eventually your time will come.
LP comes in printed innersleeve with lyrics. Elegant 4-side Digipak limited to 200.
Koban is a young duo hailing from Vancouver, Canada. They had their first album out on Broadway To Boundary back in 2013 but it really was their 2014’s EP on Weyrd Son that got our attention.
Now their second full-length is ready and with it Koban achieved to extend and improve the great results of their previous Vide EP.
Cold yet catchy dark post-punk driven by caustic drum machines, featuring French-speaking female vocals and English-speaking male voice, powered by synths and guitars as sharp and dangerous as a rusty blade.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1. This Pursuit 2. Instinct of Ego 3. Lesser 4. Elias See’s 5. Between the Differences
Side B: 1. Illusion 2. Certain Tears 3. Maladie 4. Le Cauchemar 5. We Run Red Lights