DUET # 2 SATURDAY MOON
Even een situatieschets. Ik was 18 jaar oud. Woonde in Eindhoven samen met mijn dreadlocks en had reeds een belachelijk aantal Moondog JR en dEUS concerten gezien. Het aantal ga ik niet noemen, dat gaat te ver. Stef speelde in de Effenaar, waar ik werkte. Ik heb hem toen een cassette gegeven met mijn eerste demo. Folky, rare shit (passend bij mijn snit). De dag erna telefoon of ik even in Antwerpen iets kon komen inzingen. Ik deed cool aan de telefoon maar het was toch even pipi kaka in de broek. Dus ik naar Antwerpen waar Stef me aan de bus opwachtte met woef Sammy. Samen zingen. Vrouw Laurence bang dat Stef geïnspireerd zou raken door mijn haar (wat niet is gebeurd gelukkig). Daarna elkaar even kwijtgespeeld en de laatste jaren weer in elkaars buurt. Wat me ontzettend veel deugd doet. Ik houd zo van Stef’s eigenheid. Hij was en is een inspiratie wanneer het gaat over het volgen van een eigen weg. Wanneer we samen op een podium stonden, zo genoten van zijn overgave aan de muziek. Prachtig mens. Ondertussen is Stef ook maatje van mijn hond Mir. En is hij vaste oppas. Dus nu kwispelen we samen als we voor Stef’s deur staan. Bovenal ben ik dankbaar dat hij één van de eerste mensen was die me vooruit heeft geduwd. Die blijkbaar iets hoorde in mijn stem wat ik zelf nog niet zag. Voor jullie. Saturday Moon. https://open.spotify.com/album/1M9j6bM2KqddRnbpyjoG61?si=Lf9GR_w-QaqGfHg_znXg5A
February 11, 2022
DUET #1 GREGORY FRATEUR + CHANTAL ACDA ★ TIME FRAMES ★
Voor het eerste duet heb ik een bezoekje gedaan aan Gregory Frateur (DEZ MONA).
We stonden al vaker samen op het podium maar hebben nu een middagje in de living doorgebracht.
Gregory is een meester in de overgave. Ergens inkruipen en verdwijnen. Ik kan daar zo van genieten.
Time Frames. Een song over het verlies van empathie en de hoop dat we deze samen weer terug kunnen vinden.
WORKING ON NEW MUSIC
We have been working on new music. So happy to get all these sketches to a next level with the band.
February 11, 2022
It took us a while but we have got some nice tourdates coming up in the Benelux, Swiss, Germany and Italy!
WHO IS CHANTAL ACDA?
(Chris Eckman) "I first heard Chantal Acda sing and play the early 2000’s in San Sebastian, Spain. I shared the bill that night with her group Sleeping Dog. After their set was finished and I had caught my breath, I thought of Sandy Denny and Cat Power and Van Morrison and every singer who had ever hijacked my tears and lifted me towards a light. She was that gifted, that unique and that honest and the ensuing years have only strengthened her gifts.
Chantal and I eventually joined forces in a trio with drummer Eric Thielemans (Sun Ra, John Zorn, Charlemagne Palestine, Mika Vainio) that we named Distance, Light & Sky. If we were to assign one of those words, to each of the group’s band members, I would imagine the best fit for Chantal would be “sky.” Her favorite place in the world is Iceland, with its vast open-roof horizons. Her music at times echoes such spaces and the deep awe that they inspire. There is a hard earned sense of possibility in her songs. Even in the saddest ones, she won’t let us give up. She nudges us to keep searching until we find our home – even if it is in a far flung place. At the edge of what we know.
While Chantal’s three previous solo albums were immaculately produced by two luminaries of
the so-called “post-classical” scene (Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick and Phill Brown respectively), “Saturday Moon” is a more feral child and is all the stronger for it. Caution is thrown to the wind and the emphasis is now on instinct and what is discovered from the get-your-hands-dirty process of just doing things. When I talked to Chantal about the album, she made it clear that this shift in tone and method was quite purposeful. She had decided to produce the album herself to protect the clarity and freedom of that vision:
“when I started this it was a very clear and very easy idea – still very organized in a way – one microphone, only me in the room. That’s it. Simple four minute songs for a change. But then I just felt lonely and I started connecting and reconnecting with people who I really love musically. Nobody producing and telling me to stop. I felt a little bit out of control and I loved it. It was a celebration of a part of me that is quite chaotic and not thinking and impulsive. And I guess a part of me that I didn’t touch musically much before.”
The first song and title track “Saturday Moon” feels liberated and bursting with ideas from its first notes onward. Drummer Eric Thielemans supple groove sets up Congolese guitarist Rodriguez Vangama’s gorgeous soukous flourishes which sets up the Pūwawau singers’s soaring vocalizations on the refrain. It is a free spirited mix of things, that maintains an elegant coherence because of Chantal’s always assured songwriting, arranging and vocal presence.
The album continues to spin and turn and upend preconceptions throughout its length. There are sonic surprises like Alan from Low’s guitar synth on “Disappear,” a song that ends in a tornado of electricity and also features backing vocals from Low bandmate Mimi. Atmospheric guitar legend Bill Frisell delicately converses with two tracks. Shahzad Ismaily of Tom Waits and Marc Ribot fame plays haunted six string fractures on one of the album’s darkest songs “Conflict of Minds”, together with Borgar Magnason (Sigur Rós, Björk).
There are eighteen musicians in total on the album. Strings, horns, contrabass and piano are also woven into the kaleidoscopic, eclectic mesh. It is a human-all-too-human balance of things. Clarity and randomness. Anger and elation. Loss and awakening. The personal and the communal.
Through all of the diverse sonic shapeshifting and emotional ground covered on “Saturday Moon” Chantal may have at last discovered her natural musical home. One that includes many sympathetic collaborators but at the same time is not boxed in by other people’s agendas and expectations. She told me:
“with my previous records I still had this idea that they should be done in a style with which I could fit in somewhere. I always felt in between, but with every record I thought maybe I can now fit in? But with this one I didn’t want to fit in, so that opened up so many options. The sky is the limit because I am not going to fit in anyway.”
For a moment she paused, and then continued:
“this record taught me things about myself that I was not fully aware of and I think it all came together with the lockdown. My need to work with other people was really necessary and it became a sort of celebration of that kind of musical contact – something that’s way deeper than what I have with my very close friends when we are talking. I have been collaborating a lot. It has always been present, but I never really knew why it is I look for certain musicians to do something. Now I know.”
In the song “Back Against the Wall” the narrator looks at a relationship (or a world?) where the reliable signs and signifiers have dissolved:
How did we get lost?
Over ages in time we took these steps
To think that we progressed.”
But she doesn’t give in to the instability. She crafts small everyday rituals to quiet the anxiety
“Touch the wooded skin
Feel the warmth within
That I needed the most to stay calm
And I suppose less lost.”
It is a song for the moment we find ourselves in and “Saturday Moon” is filled with such treasures.
Searches for hope. Call outs to our better selves. WTF steps into a hazy future.
Warm wooded skins for us to touch and hold on to.