Old and New- Charlie Chamberlain- Review

Old and New- Charlie Chamberlain- Review

Old and new is the dream child of Concord native Charlie Chamberlain. Americana music mixed with a solid electronic beat, acoustic instruments and a computer. Charlie takes traditional roots vocals and mixes them up with a layered soundscape of instrumentation. The mandolin, double bass, and fiddle are all paired with haunting vocals and looped with electrostatic noise. THIS IS Roots music for the 21st century indeed. In fact, you can download the entire album for free right off Charlie’s site: http://www.charliechamberlain.com/ there is nothing more 21st century then that!

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to the tracks presented here is “Deep Forest”. Remember them? That electronic band from the 90’s that took indigenous vocals from all over the world and put Casio Keyboard preprogrammed beats to it. After the first 10 seconds of listening, that was my impression. That impression did not fade during the next ten seconds but, I realized, that is not what is being presented here. The instrumentation provides lush melodic ramblings to entertain your ear. Unlike “Deep Forrest” the vocals are not where your brain wants to focus. Your ears are drawn to the impeccable mixing of beats and mandolin. The vocals are there to border the music and are not the only reason to listen.

"I started the compositions by chopping the vocal recordings, sampling them, and reconfiguring them into new phrases and hooks. Once this was done, I learned the implied harmony and rhythm, rearranged both and wrote new compositions. To be clear, only the vocals on this album are from previous recordings, all instrumental parts were written by me and played live."
- Charlie Chamberlain

Will everyone love this album? Nah. My mom would turn it off after a minute insisting she doesn’t like that old stuff or techno and ask “can we put on Yellow Submarine?” My brother would just be confused and continuously ask “What is this?” My Dad would frown, tilt his head and just ask “why are you interrupting the Red Sox game.” However, know what? I would bet 1000 bucks that anyone who considers themselves even slightly musically adventurous will love this album. That is not to say that this music is pretentious and only music snobs can find merit in the tracks. It is just, the music here defies classification. Some people might spend way too much time trying to figure it out, instead of sitting back, closing your eyes and letting the engaging sounds wash over your body.

I look forward to the next music adventure Charlie Chamberlin decides to take me on. Music for the 21st Century made with music from the 19th century. Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait another century to hear such an amazing record. Want to know my last words on this album? No? Well, stop reading… Ok, are the haters gone? Ok… here we go, my last words. This is not a complaint, not a suggestion, not a demand… it is a fans request. Please Charlie, I beg of you.. PLEASE!!! I would love for you to release a 2nd mix of this album without the vocals. Why? Not because I don’t like the vocals, I love them. I love everything here. I just want to look behind the curtain to see the wizard.

You can catch Charlie Opening for Captain Chet Lawson on May 26th at Chen Yang Li in Bow NH.
For more info see:
Facebook Info on Chen Yang Li Show

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