Release Date: Sep 14, 2010
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen, Film Music, Left-Field House
Throughout time the ancient and noble art of chess has awakened intellects, confounded Chinese emperors and inspired great art (as well as the odd dodgy song by Chris de Burgh). This is the soundtrack to a brilliant forthcoming movie starring the man himself, apparently written “in the back of a piss-powered taxi”. Chilly once again proves he is no pass master on [b]‘Ivory Tower’[/b].
Ivory Tower is producer-cum-rapper-cum-record-breaking-pianist Jason Charles Beck’s sixth solo release and perhaps his most varied yet. While past offerings from Beck, better known as Chilly Gonzales, have been known to switch gears from the first track to the last, Ivory Tower covers more ground than expected from such a schizophrenic stylist. Emotive piano instrumentals, harpsichord and flute cameos, shoddy rap disses, and the sort of disco stompers that DJs bring out at the peak of a really good dance party all get to shine here.
As one of the most talented and flat-out entertaining musicians around, you’d expect Chilly Gonzales would have no trouble finding an audience. Yet aside from his successes as a producer, he is yet to make a solo record that lives up to the experience of his critically lauded live performances. Okay, there’s Solo Piano, a beautiful collection of original piano compositions, but somehow that record doesn’t feel like a Gonzales record at all, devoid of the character that makes him one of a kind.
The cinematic ambitions of Chilly Gonzales were not previously well known, although very few forms fit his intentions to cycle between solo piano and throwback dance music quite like an original score. (Of course, if he'd tried to fit both piano meditations and funky house on a proper album, the cries of "Unity!" would have gone up immediately from outraged music fans. ) Ivory Tower, the soundtrack to an "existentialist sports comedy about chess and success," was apparently recorded before the movie was filmed, so the filming could be arranged around the album; it's true that this sounds more like an album than a soundtrack.
The consummate entertainer shows he can still bring the funnies. Louis Pattison 2010 If you’ve attended one of his live shows, you will already be aware that Chilly Gonzales – the Canadian-born major label rocker turned lounge-pop Lothario, ‘pranksta’ rapper and skilled solo pianist – is one of the most flat-out entertaining performers presently walking the boards. What Gonzales has always struggled with, however, is turning the sweaty anarchy, garrulous wordplay and virtuosic classical piano of his concerts into something that works coherently on record.