Eugene S Robinson and Philippe Petit – Chapel in the Pines (CD Fourth Dimension)

This is the third album of collaborative work by Oxbow’s Eugene S Robinson and Philippe Petit a self-proclaimed musical travel agent. I am familiar with the first of these, The Crying of Lot 69 that Polish label Monotype put out back in 2011 but I’ve not heard the second in the series. Hearing this third one I’m wondering if I need to hear that second album to see how the sounds and feel of the series has moved so far from where they started.

The basic idea of these albums is that Eugene for the most part speaks his words whilst Philippe adds the musical background. With guests appearances on some tracks.

This release is a lot more abstract then the Crying of Lot 69. The musical backing is far more abrasive. The primary instrument that Philippe uses here is guitar and he doesn’t hold back with his brutal aggressive attack on the instrument as its screeches and howls out dissonances behind Eugene’s words.

The words to these pieces are themselves far more difficult to derive meaning from than on Lot 69. They’re all printed in the CD case, some laid out as poems rather than as spoken word pieces. Eugene’s voice has a very powerful presence here and channels both Tom Waits and in places Scott Walker. I was reminded of Scott’s The Cock Fighter at one point and the album wouldn’t be out of place if played back to back with Tilt.

This is a recording with a huge amount of energy and certainly ramps everything up a notch from Lot 69. It’s hard to imagine where this will go if they do a further album.

Certainly not an easy listen but a very worthwhile one. DB