Written By Simon Chisholm
I came across the amazing Chaz Knapp after stumbling upon a series of video works entitle “50 People One Question”. I was so moved by the soundtrack he had provided for the work ‘London’ I went searching. The piece on the London video is entitled ‘Célébration à une Nouvelle Vie’, and can be found on the free online release ‘Vie comme un Parasite Faisant la fête’.
Chaz Knapp is one of those artists who has an impeccable knack for creating beautiful music. He has used very simple instrumentation to create moving sound-scapes that leave you relaxed, calm and excited for more. This album revolved around a piano, with violins and cello swaying around the motifs.
The compositions seem to revolve around a theme and variation style of structure. There is an overall theme and tone to the compositions, and as they progress countermelodies and variations swim around the central theme. Sections are formed through this repetition and theme building. The songs flow effortlessly, changing and taking shape almost unnoticeably. This use of repetition and variation creates movement. The ebb and flow of the songs strike visions of a creel running over pebbles, of swaying trees and falling leaves.
The songs seem to be made up of harmonic progressions that mysteriously never seem to end. The repetitions are hidden amongst the countermelodies.
Knapp has used sounds and instrumentation that are not of the traditional studio ‘perfect’ quality. These organic sounds are far more real than sound recorded ‘properly’ in the studio. You can hear imperfections on the attacks and in the room reverberation. These ‘imperfections’ are not errors. They add to the organics of the sound. The ‘imperfections’ are, in fact, ‘perfect. Knapp has also made a creative use of a click track or metronome and static as percussive devices.
You can feel the striking, resonating sounds in your whole body. This release works well as background music, and is enjoyable to listen to with full attention. I find that I do not want to write about this music, I would rather sit back and enjoy listening to this truly wonderful work of art.
Close your eyes and let the music take you away.
My favourite track is ‘Célébration à une Nouvelle Vie’, which is featured on the Fifty People London video.
Released online in 2008.
Available for free download here: http://www.archive.org/details/ChazKnapp-VieCommeUnParasiteFaisantLaFte