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chamber completeworks01
Artist: Chamber - L’Orchestre De Chambre Noir
Title: The Complete Works - 1: Early Years / 2: Green Years / 3: Blue Years
Genre: Alternative / Singer/Songwriter / Folk / Classical
Release Date: 15th September 2017
Label: Delicious Releases


Album Review

L’ORCHESTRE DE CHAMBRE NOIR, or CHAMBER for short, was an acoustic alternative ensemble that was active between 1998 and 2007. The brainchild of Marcus “Max” Testory, former singer of A WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, might be known best for its “Once in a Lifetime” acoustic collaboration tour with German Gothic Rock mainstay ASP. It is also the spiritual predecessor of DIE KAMMER. ‘The Complete Works’ offers most of the band’s body of work as a digital only compilation in three parts.

The first is subtitled ‘Early Years’ and covers the beginnings from 1998 to 2003, and comprises the promotional release ‘Pleasure and Pain’ (2000) as well as the first two albums, ‘L’Orchestre de Chambre Noir’ (2002) and ‘Ghost Stories and Fairy Tales’ (2003), for a full 26 tracks. Primarily played on acoustic guitars and strings, occasionally supplemented by piano, the music of CHAMBER is often slow and frequently filled with a generous portion of pain and melancholy.

However, while songs like ‘Maybe First We Die’, ‘Mistakes’, ‘A Dead Man’s Song’, ballads like ‘A Tale of Real Love’, and the Peter Murphy cover ‘A Strange Kind of Love’ cater to the darker side, the ensemble has an exciting versatility with inclusion of Irish folk songs like ‘Another Conversation’ and ‘Hometown’, the medieval touch of ‘Conversation of Prayer’, and the Rock’n’Roll piece ‘Little Devil’. ‘The Ballad of the Half-Brained Man’ and ‘The Truth About Snow-White’ are more humorous proof that the band’s not always as deadly serious as their casual gothic scene association would have you believe. Throughout, Max Testory’s deep and distinct voice acts as a shining beacon to latch onto - alone, or in the fragile and beautiful duet with Elisabeth Kranich on ‘Shall I Fall’.

The second set, named ‘Green Years’, spans the years 2003 to 2005 and includes songs from their EP ‘Miles Away’ and subsequent album ‘Solitude’ (both 2004). It also contains songs from the bonus CDs of the 2005 and 2006 rereleases of their first two albums. Labelled ‘Silence’ and ‘Quadro Negro’, these two CDs mostly feature stripped down versions of their respective albums’ tracks. As a result of the packaging, over a third of the tracks of this set are alternate versions of songs of the ‘Early’ and ‘Green’ years.

That is not to say that they’re dead weight or filler material. Some have the potential to make you fall in love with a known song all over again. Others remain an interesting experiment, bonus material rather than a serious contender to take the crown from the original version. Fortunately, there are still plenty of new songs to be enjoyed as well. The title tracks ‘Miles Away’ and ‘Solitude’, the ballad ‘Violets for a Dead Girl’, and songs ‘To Others Than You’ and ‘Torn’ are good choices for a quick dip to test the waters.

Finally, the third part, dubbed ‘Blue Years’, deals with the remaining material until the band’s dissolving in 2009. This leaves the songs of their album ‘Transitions’ (2007), a single track from their compilation album ‘Dix Ans’ (2009), and the remaining tracks of ‘Quadro Negro’ that have not been included in part two. After their 2006 “Once in a Lifetime” tour with ASP, the band went through a major line-up change, which shows in the material of this last chapter. Drums and percussion that had been cautiously introduced in earlier material take a more prominent role in songs like ‘Deeper Sense’, ‘Freak Wave’, ‘Insane’ and ‘Pride Goes (Before a Fall)’.

The latter two even seem to dip into pop territory, while Testory unleashes his inner Tom Waits for ‘King of Fools’. ‘Ver Sacrum’, written entirely in Latin, produces a medieval choir setting. Yet, in tracks like ‘Mourning Song’, ‘Life Goes On’ and the Folk song ‘The Wide Lands’, the original CHAMBER still shines through, making this final compilation a true mixed bag to explore.

Notably missing from this entire collection is the material from the bands’ co-releases with ASP, the 2006 ‘Humility’ and 2007 ‘Once in a Lifetime’. Both have however been rereleased by ASP in their ‘Die verschollenen Archive’ line (#2 and #3 respectively) and are still available through the ASP shop (https://www.aspswelten.de/shop/cd..12/humility-ep-va2.462 and https://www.aspswelten.de/shop/cd..12/2cd-once-in-a-lifetime-live-va3.480). Also not included is ‘The Stolen Child’, originally released as a bonus disc of the limited edition of ‘Solitude’, a selection of cover songs ranging from THE SISTERS OF MERCY’s ‘Temple of Love’ (with Asp Spreng on vocals) to ALANIS MORISETTE’s ‘Uninvited’. It is, however, still available separately through Delicious Releases’ shop (https://www.delicious-releases.de/The-Stolen-Child-91284.html).

While the journey of the “ship of fools” (as Testory himself occasionally called the band) CHAMBER ended in 2007, many of the ideas and musical concepts that make CHAMBER worth listening to have passed over into DIE KAMMER. Friends of acoustic music of the darker variety will easily fall for both, but should be prepared for the occasional outburst of humour, joy und lust for life. DIE KAMMER is playing next at “The Invitation” Indie-Acoustic festival with MILA MAR and DELVA in Frankfurt on Saturday, February 29 2020. Tickets and more information available at https://www.the-invitation-festival.com/.


Tracklist

Early Years
01. La Danse Des Cœrs Brises (Instrumental)
02. Maybe First We Die
03. Pleasure and Pain
04. Easter Song
05. Ceremony After A Fire Raid
06. Mistakes
07. Another Conversation
08. A Strange Kind Of Love
09. Toscana
10. The Ballad Of The Half-Brained Man
11. La Danse Des Cœrs Brises
12. Conversation Of Prayer
13. Un Verre De Trop
14. Three Years
15. Entree - The Elven King
16. A Dead Man’s Song
17. The Paper-Hearted Ghost
18. A Tale Of Real Love
19. In My Garden
20. Invisible
21. Silence – Release
22. Hometown
23. Heart of Stone
24. The Truth About Snow-White
25. Little Devil
26. Shall I Fall

Green Years
01. Miles Away
02. Wasting My Day
03. In Your Eyes
04. To Others Than You
05. Let Em Go
06. Beautiful Betrayal
07. Waterfall
08. A Tale Of Real Love
09. In My Garden
10. The Morning After
11. Miles Away
12. Torn
13. Desire And Ruin
14. I Hate Falling In Love
15. Violets For A Dead Girl
16. Moonchild
17. Sleep, Sweet Sleep
18. Amorous
19. Set Me Free
20. Solitude
21. Wasting My Day (Very Relaxed...)
22. A Dead Man’s Song
23. Hometown
24. Silence
25. The Paper Hearted Ghost
26. In My Garden
27. Another Conversation
28. La Danse Des Cœrs Brises

Blue Years
01. Deeper Sense
02. Freak Wave
03. Insane
04. Elven King’s Walz
05. Dead Man’s Hill
06. Mourning Song
07. Lost And Found
08. Je Ne T’aime Plus
09. Pride Goes (Before A Fall)
10. King Of Fool
11. Life Goes On
12. Change The Day
13. I Wish I Was
14. The Wide Lands
15. The Lady Of The Isle
16. Ver Sacrum
17. Homeward
18. Pleasure And Pain
19. Easter Song
20. A Strange Kind Of Love
21. Mistakes
22. Toscana


Website

http://www.chamber-online.de / https://www.delicious-releases.de


Cover Picture

chamber completeworks01chamber completeworks02chamber completeworks03


Rating

Music: 9
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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