Emler Tchamitchian Echampard – “Sad and Beautiful”


ETE - "Sad and Beautiful"Andy Emler, Claude Tchamitchian and Eric Echampard (aka ETE) are long-time collaborators.  Their newest album Sad and Beautiful is the third recording of these artists in a trio format.  This, in addition to their work together in Emler’s MegaOctet, has given rise to a certain empathy to the cryptic structures of Emler’s compositions as well as each artist’s peculiar voices that each of the artists possess.  It’s why so much of their music sounds so mysterious and strange, yet reflects a logic and beauty so simple to absorb.

2014’s Sad and Beautiful is the most concrete presentation of this yet.

Your album personnel:  Andy Emler (piano), Claude Tchamitchian (double bass), and Eric Echampard (drums).

As with past recordings, their newest collaboration is exemplified by an uneasy melodicism.  Opening track “A Journey Through Hope” opens with it immediately before breaking into a cant that carries that melody away.  Emler’s piano is a cascade of notes that withdraws and returns with a suddenness that is quite startling, just as it is welcome.  Tchamitchian provides dramatic strikes of lightning with some bass arco, bolstering the turbulence of Eschampard’s drums.

The interlude of “Last Chance” shows the trio’s ability to shift into a melody of a more elegant shapeliness.  The pleasant chatter from drums, the introspective missives from piano, deep sighs from bass.  “Elegances” picks up where the previous interlude left off, but sinks deeper into introspection before ramping things up to finish off the song.

“Second Chance” is a vortex of motion, growing faster as the trio reaches the core of the song.  On “Tee Time,” however, the force of the trio is more vertically directed, charging head first from the first notes, when bass comes out humming, piano taking leaps and bounds, and drums coaxing the intensity ever upward.  The trio slides into expressions of a defined melody that also possesses strong rhythmic implications.  A beautiful middle passage of bass arco, and piano singing just over the top, leads to some atonality when piano alters its voice and cymbals crash down repeatedly.  This, in turn, leads to a conclusion with a hurried demeanor and the delivery of abrupt phrases, contrasting with both the song’s cohesive opening and its serene middle section.  It’s these kinds of changes of expression that symbolizes so much of the strange and mysterious beauty contained in the music of these artists.

The albums final two songs do no less.  “By the Way” begins with a dancer’s elegance and proclivity for crisp and fluid changes of shape and motion.  And the concluding song “Try Home” is a subdued expression of what has come before… a brief and quiet introspection, and a curious beauty.

Released on La Buissonne.

Available at:  Bandcamp | eMusic | Amazon MP3