Label: Constellation Release date: 22/02/10 The beauty of stripped down recordings is the intimate quality and presence you get when there’s only two or three tracks running. You can hear the singer breathe, sometimes hear them open their mouth, and the guitar often shimmers by itself or resides in a dark hollow that wraps the ears in a soft blanket. At times this method has been employed wonderfully (Either/Or and At Rear House both come to mind), sometimes it just sounds out of place. Eric Chenaux has managed to find a middle ground that sadly mars what would and could have been. Side A1, Warm Weather is just one guitar that sounds as if it had come from a Jose Gonzalez or Daniel Rossen song, but stripped of that roomy reverb. The spare vocals just sing sotto voce, barely above the mix of the guitar, and while this normally would seem good or even similar to the great moments of Elverum’s discography, instead it seems so middle ground. The recording quality isn’t lo-fi, it isn’t hi-fi, rather it’s wallowing in this purgatory of mid-fi. So rather than hearing tape hiss to feel at home, or clean perfection to simply stun, it sounds like a good quality recording made at an abandoned café on some small street on a breezy vacation town. Side A2 offers mindless hurdy-gurdy playing that seems rife for sampling (hint hint producers). Again, it sits as being just so so-so. Rather than being powerful or impressive, it’s intermediate. Listen for yourself at his MySpace, I might just be right. But while I enjoyed the sound of his voice and can admire his playing ability as a café purveyor, Eric Chenaux will be a nice midground. Photobucket