ME & LP: Matthew Embree and Lisa Papineau release Chez Raymond EP
ME & LP, the collaborative project of celebrated musicians Matthew Embree and Lisa Papineau release their 6-song EP Chez Raymond digitally and on CD this week via Sargent House. Keep reading to listen to the full album and more of their songs.
ME & LP came about when the two artists first met after volunteering to collaborate for a performance at a gallery opening for artist Sonny Kay. “It came from us basically shaking hands to say ‘very nice to make your acquaintance’, setting up a mic, and then jumping right in without another word,” Papineau says. “A couple hours later, we pulled our heads up and kind of laughed.” The duo had found a rare chemistry, and made plans to work on an EP later in Paris at Papineau’s apartment following Embree’s upcoming European tour. Having begun writing in Paris, the pair were then invited to Papineau’s friend and collaborator Matthieu’s studio on a farm in rural France to work amid lettuce, rye and pea patches. Though the EP ultimately was recorded and mixed in a number of locations, the heart of it came to be at the farm studio dubbed Chez Raymond, after Matthieu’s uncle who used to live there. Matthieu also contributed a variety of keys: piano, Rhodes electric piano, organ and accordion.
Chez Raymond opens with the gentle lilt of Flamenco style plucked guitar chords of “Quatro” as the singers’ beautiful, hushed vocal harmony drops in like an ominously sad lullaby. Second song, “Truth Be Told” is a haunting acoustic folk-blues lament, driven largely by Embree and Papineau’s gorgeously synergistic voices. “La Belle Tocade” begins with warbling antique organ notes as Papineau cherubically intones over a bouncing bass line and drum beat. “Bonnie Says (No Sh*tty Ride)” pairs a rocksteady drum machine groove with a diaspora spanning melody that Manu Chao would kill for, led by Embree’s majestic lead vocal performance.
Throughout, Chez Raymond is a dramatically beautiful and captivating meeting of two extremely talented and versatile songwriters that merges into a recording that is both ethereal and cozy. “Room tone is absolutely one of the dominant ‘instruments’ on this album,” Papineau explains. “Or rather, various room tones. Matt’s woody old apartment in Long Beach where he recorded ‘Quatro’ and finger taps. The guest bed at my friend’s house where I recorded the vocal for ‘Quatro’, draping a mic over a mound of pillows. Too much natural reverb on anything we recorded at my house. A couple really good pops on the mic from bopping into it while we floppy danced around Chez Raymond. It all brings a very dusty ambience to the sound of the record.”