The traditional Chenaux wins. At times light and beautiful and at times wobbly and disorienting, Skullsplitter sounds like many other Chenaux releases. And you either like him or you don’t. His slow songs, vibratoed guitar and really delicate voice either win you or not.
“Have I Lost My Eyes?” has one of the most wobbly guitars I can thing of (even for him). The slow electric guitar solo is pretty much perpetually played with wah-wah bar in motion. After 90 second of this, Chenaux’s delicate tenor voice comes in and sings a melody that is not exactly suited to the music, but which doesn’t sound off, either. Classic Chenaux.
Alternating with the vocal pieces are instrumentals. Chenaux plays a lot of ringing and delicate solos and overdubs them. And the instrumentation is pretty varied: Voice, electric guitar, un-amplified electric guitar, nylon-string guitar, speakers, melodica and electronics. “The Pouget” is roughly two minutes long. “My Romance” has a kind of warbling guitar solo over some mellotron. “The Henri Favourite” is another 2 minute slow piece with a slow guitar solo played over some keyboards. The last instrumental is quite different. “La Vieux Favori” changes the tone with a bowed sound (although you can see there’s no violin listed–he must be bowing the guitar). It doesn’t have the same smoothness as the other songs, although it is certainly interesting, especially near the end when it is just that bowed instrument with no accompaniment.
“Skullsplitter” is, as I said, a mellow song just like the others. His voice is relaxing and calming and the music is also mellow with waves of keys. I’ve never really tried to figures out the words to any of his songs before–he sings so slowly it’s kind of hard to follow the thoughts. But the lyrics to this song are the cover art. And seeing them printed, I still don’t know what they mean.
“Spring Has Been a Long Time Coming” is the most friendly song of the bunch–music and vocals meld perfectly, and Chenaux’s guitar sounds beautiful. The 8-minute “Poor Time” has a jazzy feel as it unfurls slowly. It intersperses his vocals with a delicate but wildly-wah-wahed solo. The final track, “Summer & Time” ends the disc with some pretty acoustic guitars and Chenuaux’s delicately soaring voice.
[READ: June 1, 2016] Lighter Than My Shadow
I was looking on the shelves in the library for some books and I saw this book on the shelf next to them. I loved the title, Lighter Than My Shadow and when I pulled it off the shelf, I really liked the drawing style that Green employs.
I genuinely had no idea that this book was going to be about woman suffering from body issues and anorexia. It all seems obvious, but i didn’t look that closely at first. Such a topic could be really hard to read about, but I was also really surprised and delighted at how good the book was.
She covers her mental state in all capacities. And she really demonstrates the way her body rebelled against herself. In fact, this was the most compelling and complete look at anorexia that I have ever seen.
There is something about the way her drawings style–simple figures and even simpler backgrounds work perfectly in this story. She is able to show herself getting thinner without resorting to shocking illustrations (well, there are one or two mildly shocking ones). The most effective part of the book is the black scribble that hovers around her representing her interior self.
The book starts with her as a child who was reluctant to eat. She was slow eater and was often mocked by her parents for it. But really she just didn’t like to eat. And she found a way to get around it–until it was found out. And that’s when the scribbles start.
The drawing is so clean and simple–her characters are pure and unadorned. And then the scribble surrounds her. It is dark and scratchy and very intense and it totally covers her surroundings She sits huddled trying to escape this encroaching scribble.
Katie loved to draw as a child and she felt it was a world she could control. But soon enough when she took art classes, she was so worried about doing a good job that she failed class–she froze each time. And then she was discouraged from drawing.
Since things were out of control for her, she began finding ways to control things. She would count steps, arrange pencils and then she started counting her chewing. One days she asked her mom what would happen if you didn’t eat. Her mom said you’d fade away in to oblivion. And on one of the final cute moments, she asks, “what’s a bilivion?”
Katie goes off to school, she gets her period early (than eventually stops having it when she stops eating) and things are not going as well as she would like. She begins having self-doubts and she hears all of the criticisms the girls have made about their own bodies.
Her lack of eating really began in earnest when she gave up junk food for Lent. She said it all made her feel better. But after 40 days she felt that didn’t like the taste anymore. When she ate chocolate the scribbles wold come back. She imagined herself bloated and disgusting and dreamed of slicing of parts of her body with a cleaver.
Perhaps the only thing that saved her was that she could never make herself vomit. She tried but simply couldn’t do it.
And then we go on through her life–therapists, including an alternative therapist who her mom doesn’t trust (with good reason it turns out).
The rest of the book shows her fights with herself and food; how University went for her; how many times she she tried to control her life but often found herself binging (and then getting mad at herself all over again).
Despite her physical and mental state, she was successful at school. But she was never happy. Until she finally went to art school–the spark that inspired her to write this first book.
Interestingly, for a book about anorexia, this tome is huge. It’s over 500 pages and almost oversized. It’s a big book and it’s quite detailed.
And yet for such a sad topic, Green covers it in a fantastic way.
I hope what she creates next will show her life as happier now.