Christopher Chaplin’s Sea Change is a ghostly and unusual work

Christopher Chaplin is not someone whose music you might put happily on the car stereo to hum along to on your morning commute. An avant-garde musician and composer with a […]

Written By Noel Maurice

On July 19, 2020
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Christopher Chaplin is not someone whose music you might put happily on the car stereo to hum along to on your morning commute.
Christopher-Chaplin-Sea-Change-indierepublik-Review

An avant-garde musician and composer with a long track record, Christopher Chaplin leads you slowly in to his music a little like a forest creature who takes you by the hand and leads you ever deeper and deeper into the increasingly dense and twisted undergrowth, chuckling to himself every now and then in anticipation of your steadily increasing simultaneous alarm and wonderment.

“Chuckling to himself every now and then in anticipation of your steadily increasing simultaneous alarm and wonderment.”

The accompanying video begins with light playing upon dark water and goes dark from there. The words sung in a somewhat ghostly glow are directly taken from the Shakespeare stanza that begins with Full Fathom Five, from The Tempest.

The acknowledged progenitor of electronic music, Roedelius, took a young Christopher Chaplin under his wing in the 80s, shortly after he had studied piano in Switzerland, working together on a music piece which turned into the beginning of a decades-long collaboration.

2016 saw Chaplin’s first solo work, an album entitled “Je suis le Ténébreux”. This was followed two years later by “Paradise Lost”. Both works mix modern sounds, classical touches and older, some would say timeless, texts: The first was an artistic interpretation of Gérard de Nerval’s poem of the same name; Paradise Lost was drawn from Milton’s poem about fallen angels.

His third album “M” is complex and many-layered composition, in which he collaborates with BRIT award winner Finley Quaye, artist and performer Aurelia Thierree and the Austrian musical artist Mira Lu Kovacs, whose haunting voice we hear on Sea Change, and parts of which were recorded in Air’s Paris studio.

Mem – or M – is linked to quarantine and transformation

Christopher Chaplin: “The M album is about change. The letter “M” refers to the Hebrew letter Mem, which, in the alphabet of Kabbalah, points to the origin of many words such as: mother, womb, birth, water, flood, death; and through its gematria (the number 4), Mem is linked to quarantine and transformation. The album consists of three tracks containing verses taken from three different poems: Metamorphosis by Ovid, Full Fathom Five by Shakespeare, and Mutability by Shelley.”

Christopher Chaplin: “The M album is about change. The letter “M” refers to the Hebrew letter Mem, which, in the alphabet of Kabbalah, points to the origin of many words such as: mother, womb, birth, water, flood, death; and through its gematria (the number 4), Mem is linked to quarantine and transformation. The album consists of three tracks containing verses taken from three different poems: Metamorphosis by Ovid, Full Fathom Five by Shakespeare, and Mutability by Shelley.”

” Christopher Chaplin’s music requires, demands, repeated listening. You understand instinctually that you are expected to spend some time with it “

The album includes a sample of Hausswolff’s “sonic extraction of the HIV virus DNA chain”, and the catalyst for the entire outing, according to Christopher Chaplin, is the last line of Shelley’s poem Mutability: “”Nought may endure but Mutability.”

Christopher Chaplin’s music requires, demands, repeated listening. You understand instinctually that you are expected to spend some time with it, to allow yourself to sink into it. In this all too frenetic world that is more of an ask than many of us are used to. But you owe the time and concentration, both to Chaplin and his co-creators, and to yourself.

I assure you that you will not come away unaffected.

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