Album review: Michael Chapman - Fish
- Credit: Archant
The veteran folk guitarist proves age is no barrier to stunning, expressive musicianship, says Stephen Moore.
If you’re the type of person who likes to use music to relax and unwind, or shut out the hellish Tube commute with sublime sounds, Michael Chapman’s latest could be your new favourite long player.
Now just days from his 75th birthday, having spent 40 years on the musical margins, his new album reveals an astonishing talent who is still at the top of his game.
A suite of 10 instrumental songs are expertly navigated with nimble mastery of the acoustic guitar, using it to its expressive best with minimal additions.
From contemplative to wondrous, down home to exotic, sighing to driving, Chapman imbues every song with a rare expressiveness.
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Plain Old Bob Has A Hoe Down sets the tone, strings finger-picked with earnest and precise musicality, a simple motif woven with complex additions but keeping apace, a shaker flavouring it with a Wild West dustiness.
Violin and Eastern strings give Stockport Monday a colonial feel, but it’s tempered by an insistent one-note electric guitar that imparts a sense of unease and exhaustion.
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The sun-baked and meditative Lament For Nepal, bookended with ominous bells, rubs shoulders with the anxious Ehud and soothing March Rain – all exploratory folk into which you can weave your own narrative.
Impressive, evocative, wonderful.
Rating: 4/5 stars