eric chenaux

We experiment and improvise when we listen; improvise and experiment with our thoughts and what could be called a life: when we walk or take a walk, when we cook, in conversation with our friends, how we listen to others, how we react (or resist), how we love, what we drink and when we drink it, we play with language and repetition, how we move or don’t move and how we dance or swing to music. They do not come from nowhere; they improvise, recycle, experiment and modulate, coming into contact, even if briefly, with other experiments and improvisations. We could call it playfulness and we may find pleasure in doing so. We experiment with space and time and the ensembles of in-betweenesses. They are moving, even if slowly. The time of performance, of music and listening, has many times within, around and beside it. All of the thoughts and ideas and sensations we play with assemble what matters to us. This time comes into play at the time of performance, so when we talk about improvising and performance and the performance of listening we are talking about a strange smear of time and space that then fold back into themselves and continue to experiment and improvise along side us. Song is one place of many to do this. The details of our lives are often produced with chance, affection, improvisation and experimentation, and with my music, they are ways to hear details I would not likely be able to hear otherwise.

– Written to Daniel Spicer for The Wire (November 2017)


While he has called Paris home since 2011, Eric Chenaux was a fixture of the Toronto DIY and experimental music scenes throughout the 1990s and 2000s, from performing in post-punk groups Phleg Camp and Lifelikeweeds to highly idiosyncratic and improvisatory music making in solo and small ensemble contexts. He co-founded the experimental music label Rat-drifting in 2002, documenting an iconoclastic cross-section of Toronto free-improvised, contemporary composers, bent-jazz and avant-song artists over the ensuing decade, including several ensembles in which he is a member (The Draperies, The Reveries, The Guayaveras, The Marmots, Allison Cameron Band, Drumheller, Nightjars). Chenaux developed practices through this period experimenting with improvisation and form, very small speakers and various innovative bespoke forms of signal bending. Constellation has been home to Eric's "solo" records since 2006.


Eric composes and performs music for film, including the score for Esther May Campbell’s 2015 full length feature Light Years and various collaborations with filmmaker Eric Cazdyn, contemporary dance, including Hello How and Hey, with DD Dorvillier (2019), and collaborates on numerous sound installations with visual/sound artist Marla Hlady. Chenaux has also performed and recorded with many other musicians over his 30-year career, including Sandro Perri, Ryan Driver, Eloïse Decazes, Pauline Oliveros, Martin Arnold, Allison Cameron, John Oswald, Michael Snow, Bass Clef, Brodie West, Han Bennink, Michael Moore, Baby Dee, Josephine Foster, Quentin Biardeau, Martin Tetrault, Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, Kurt Newman, Little Annie, Wilbert De Joode, Gareth Davis, Jacob Wren, Norberto Lobo, Nathaniel Mann, Marisa Terzi and Christine Abdelnour. Eric Chenaux was artist in residence 2018/2019 at La Dynamo/Bainlieues Bleues, Pantin, France.