Chantepleure is Alex Cobb’s third full length album under his own name and the second to be released on his own Students of Decay label. The title, an archaic term meaning to cry and sing at the same time, suggests that we might expect a sanguine emotional catharsis, an expectation the album notes go on to confirm.
“The album…was created at a time of heartache, isolation and emotional upheaval and acts as a balm of tender tones where abstract guitar lines circle and suspend in a kind of refined elegance. Noise, once a hallmark of Cobb’s music, has not been entirely removed, but manifests here in a different form. A delicate dissonance shades the edges of the these four tracks, providing textural color and gorgeously offsetting the lush nature of the music.”
Cobb presents four tracks here starting with a a trilogy of pieces that comprise side 1 of the vinyl edition. “Prayer Ring” immediately engages the ear as delicate drones slowly unfurl and effloresce over a plaintive undercurrent. “Anselin” mesmerizes with comparatively more vivid and textured oscillations, while “Disporting With a Shadow” offers solace with its gentle and somnolent ebb.
“Path of Appearance” occupies all of side 2 of the LP. The album notes liken it to “the sun stretching to fill all corners of a darkened room”, an apt visualization for this patient long form piece expands and refracts over 16 tranquil minutes.
Chantepleure reflects a deepening maturation in style by Cobb in which he seems to have mastered the art of infusing honest and heartfelt emotion into the fabric of his sound with a refined minimalist aesthetic that steadily points to true north. The result is his most satisfying and absorbing record to date.
Listen to ‘Disporting With a Shadow’
More from Alex Cobb
Students of Decay Label
Cobb founded his label in 2005 which has become a home for very thoughtfully selected ambient and experimental works & reissues, always eloquently presented with contextual insights and an appealing minimalist aesthetic. Artists on the roster include Kyle Bobby Dunn, Aquarelle, Sarah Davachi, and Secret Pyramid. The reissue of the 1984 recording Journey to the Light by Mark Banning was quite special and was reviewed here on Stationary Travels. Exploration of the site and the generous Soundcloud samples is highly recommended.
Label site: http://studentsofdecay.com/
Listen to a sampler of previous and upcoming releases from 2015:
Marigold and Cable [Shelter Press]
Cobb’s second full-length solo effort, Marigold and Cable, was released on Shelter Press last year.
The album’s four compositions are streamlined and focused, finding a balance between studied contours and compositional intuition. Tints of early Stars of the Lid and Kevin Drumm’s lambent drones are apt starting points, but Cobb routes them through a live set up without the aid of loops or synthesizers
Here you can view the video for “Oversong” from Marigold and Cable made by Billy Gomberg and featuring Maxwell Croy on koto, both of whom have releases on Cobb’s Students of Decay label.
Passage to Morning [Students of Decay]
Cobb’s first album under his own name and his first full length since the 2009 release of Wax Canopy released under the moniker of Taiga Remains which he has since retired.
with Passage to Morning recalling more the meditative guitar minimalism of “Ribbons of Dust,” his prior release for the Root Strata label. Here, glacially moving, eternally receding drones sourced from strings, tape loops and analog synthesizer are the order of the day, expertly arranged into succinct and imminently listenable compositions
Listen to “Bewildered by its Blue”