Christopher Chaplin – “Je suis le Ténébreux”

“The album is based on the Enigma of Bologna, a text in Latin from the XVI century inscribed on a tombstone near Bologna, Italy. The text describes a man named Lucius Agatho Priscius and a mysterious woman named Aelia Laelia Crispis. Not much can be said about the enigma, other than it holds a certain fascination. As André Pieyre de Mandiargues once put it: beware of resolving the enigma of the stone, lest it loses its power.” – Christopher Chaplin, 2016

October 21 2016 will see the release of Christopher Chaplin’s first solo album on Fabrique Records. “Je suis le Ténébreux“, has been partly recorded at AIR’s Atlas Studio in Paris and various studios in the UK. It combines experimental musical influences around a sixteenth century text, an epitaph known as the “Enigma of Bologna.”

However, in this review, I will not harp on about the enigma – I want to focus on the genius of Chaplin.

British composer and experimental music artist Christopher James Chaplin studied the piano with Irene Denereaz in Vevey/Switzerland before moving to London in the early 80’s. In 2009 he was invited by Viennese label Fabrique to collaborate with electronic musician Thomas Pötz aka KAVA on “Seven Echoes” – he has also performed in a session on “Late Junction” on BBC Radio 3.

Comprising of synthesiser, piano, bowed instruments, electric guitar (maybe?) and spoken passages as well as soaring arias – this is an album that sees Chaplin in his element as a writer of music and as a performer.

A richly diverse album that speaks to me of the darkness in reverence – letting the dead lie in peace and hiding lovers trysts. This is an exciting album – not because of the tempo, however. The slow, funeral pace withholds a raw power and energy. Listening to this album is like witnessing withheld malice. With ‘Je suis le Ténébreux’ there is a malevolent raw power brimming just below the horizon on every track.

The album is due for release on October 21st 2016 on Fabrique Records – you can pre-order the release here.

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