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Chris Eckman - The Last Side of the Mountain

  by John Clarkson

published: 31 / 3 / 2009



Chris Eckman - The Last Side of the Mountain
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD

intro

Enthralling latest solo album from Walkabouts front man Chris Eckman, who has set to music sveral of the poems of obscure Slovenian poet, Dane Zajc


It was inevitable that having been given as a gift a translation of ‘Barren Harvest’, one of Dane Zacj’s sets of poems, that Chris Eckman would find much to identify with in the late Slovenian poet's verses. The Seattle-born but now Llubljana-based Walkabouts front man and solo singer-songwriter comes from a similar place of the soul to Zajc, sharing with him an earthy fascination with nature and the elements, corresponding thoughts on the uneasiness of communication between the sexes and the same dark romanticism. For his latest solo album ‘The Last Side of the Mountain’, Eckman has taken nine of Zacj’s poems and set them to music. Musically ‘The Last Side of the Mountain’ finds Eckman on firm but familiar territory, merging together the celestial choirs and orchestras, epic soundscapes and gorgeous melodies that have dominated many of his recent albums with both the Walkabouts and in his solo career. ‘Who Will Light Your Path ?’ is especially beautiful, a duet between Eckman and the sultry-voiced Anita Lipnicka that muses on the uncertainty of the future and love(“Who will wait for you at the crossroads ?At midnight towards what light will you turn ?”), and which sets together echoing strings with a pulsating synthesiser and an acoustic guitar. ‘Stranger’ is, however, rougher in tone, a rattling, metallic-in-sound blues number with grinding guitars and a wailing harmonica which is about how the dead live on in the mind and the memory (“Are you warm now, stranger ?/Was your cold spirit finally warmed by the fire in your flesh ?”). 'The Same’, another duet, this time with former Dream Syndicate front man Steve Wynn, (whose album ‘Crossing the Bridge’ Eckman produced last year), which is about the thought that everyone has a double somewhere in the world, is meanwhile with its raucous vocals and discordant music genuinely eerie and chilling (“In another world, the same/The other in the same world/The same in the same world”). The title track is an instrumental with tolling bells and slowly surging strings that builds up to the climax of the album in which, as all the music suddently drops away, Zacj himself makes a brief appearance at the end of the record reading part of a poem in Slovenian. By its very nature, and in being essentially the musical adaptation of the work of a dead poet little known outside of his own country, ‘The Last Side of the Mountain’ seems destined to become one of Eckman’s lesser known works. Genuinely enthralling and exciting, it,however, more than bridges and fills the gap for this prolific songwriter before either the next album of his own material or long awaited new Walkabouts’ record, the latter of which has been promised for later in the year, comes out.



Track Listing:-
1 Bells Of A New Day
2 Down, Down
3 Eyes
4 Ransom
5 Who Will Light Your Path?
6 Stranger
7 Scorpions
8 Hours
9 The Same
10 With What Mouth
11 The Last Side Of The Mountain
12 Fragment


Label Links:-
http://label.glitterhouse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GlitterhouseRecords
https://twitter.com/glitterhouserec
https://www.youtube.com/user/GlitterhouseTV



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