Chris Eckman - The Black Field (2003)
Artist: Chris Eckman
Title Of Album: The Black Field
Year Of Release: 2003
Label: Glitterhouse Records/GRCD581
Genre: Blues Rock, Country Blues, Folk Rock
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
Total Time: 00:47:58
Total Size: 269 mb
1 Nights Like These
2 Healing Waters of the Flood
3 Low Country
6 The Black Field
7 Pirates and Clowns
9 Why Can't I Touch It?
Chris Eckman's second solo album in five years found Eckman living in a new country -- Slovenia, where the Walkabouts had long established a fervent following -- and trying out a different musical approach. Where A Janela had been recorded at a variety of sessions in Seattle and Lisbon, on The Black Field Eckman worked solely in Ljubljana while various guests either came to him or, in many cases, recorded their parts on home studio setups. Among other out-of-town participants are most of the Walkabouts (as well as longtime guest performer Terry Lee Hale on another song), Midnight Choir's Al DeLoner performing most of the arrangement on the title track, Sol Invictus/Sieben violinist Matt Howden (who turns in a grand part on "Crystalline"), and the Bambi Molesters' Dalibor Pavicic. For all the additional performers, Eckman starts the album on a totally solo note with "Nights Like These," his warm rasp of a voice getting a showcase first with just acoustic guitar and then a well-constructed arrangement that sounds like a band quietly jamming along, just so. His ear for sudden surprise musical turns shows well throughout, especially with the stylophone on the piano-led slow and stately "Low Country" adding a dreamy, alien atmosphere. Perhaps one of the album's strongest numbers -- and one of Eckman's best songs ever, in any context -- is the post-relationship retrospection of "Healing Waters of the Flood." With mystic, apocalyptic language -- a Dylan touchstone Eckman has often skillfully used -- and the vocal sung in a higher, softer voice than usual with backing by the Walkabouts, the rich, haunting texture of the arrangement suggests a place somewhere between the Old West and the Middle East. The album ends on an intriguing note with a cover of the Buzzcocks' "Why Can't I Touch It?," turning the slow motorik punch of the original into a fragile, loping rumination, though concluded with a triumphant guitar solo.
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