C.K. Flach - Empty Mansions - Stereo Stickman

C.K. Flach Empty Mansions


This album of original music from artist and songwriter C.K. Flach is spectacular. His use of melody is spellbinding, simplistic yet perfectly effective in creating both space and a story to explore within it. Lazarus is the opener and an ideal introduction to the project. The instrumentation is beautiful, as is the artist’s leading voice – not striving to be anything other than what it is, and that’s real, and smooth, and emotional, and unquestionably enjoyable and inspiring to listen to.

This album is something you can count on to be the great collection of music and artistry you need when times are hard. It is the CD you kept safe underneath your car seat. Progressing through the soft-rock soul and depth of Boxcar Dreaming, the rhythmic and poetic realism of Tranquilized, and the joyfully optimistic story telling of Munich, C.K. Flach shows himself to be a deeply talented and thoughtful songwriting, with a great ear and passion for musical reflection. The essence of each and every song is supported and enhanced intensely by the music and the vocal melody surrounding it.

A song like Calamity offers a fireside break from the full throttle studio sound, the harmonica adds a touch of now, a caught in the moment state of depth. As you listen, every line and every idea is something that it feels like a blessing to have heard. Almost like the secrets of the great unknown are being whispered, just to you. As mentioned, Flach’s voice has an effortless authenticity to it, and these open and unforgiving folk-songs portray an incomparable depth that is supremely multiplied by the fitting performance providing them. Calamity is instrumentally minimalist, yet overwhelmingly captivating.

A touch of swagger and alternative character is offered with the song The Officer. The spoken word sound offers a change in scene, a change in expression, another side to the songwriter and the storytelling. Album arrangement is important, and this track comes as a welcome break from the melodies – you feel even further inclined to take on every word as if it was the law. Queen Caroline maintains the dramatic effect of the former, yet the mood is notably mellow and sultry, even suspicious somehow. Flach’s descriptive lyricism is pretty incomparable at the best of times, but the way that this song evolves from the spoken work to the infectiously melody is mesmerising. If you’re an artist, it’s only ever worthwhile to do you. This is what you get in masses with this release.

One of the best thing about these songs is that they are written, crafted, completed, in whichever manner the artist deems appropriate, or whichever way that it happens at the time of creation. There’s no apparent concern for standard expectations, the songs develop as they need to, and the raw artistry of it shines with engaging brightness. The title track is no exception, the melody is accessible and enjoyable, but the instrumental build up, the lyrical exploration – nothing about it is predictable. It’s a stunning song that hits with emotional power and provokes deep thought.

Machine Gun is the penultimate offering, another song to make you think, another story you weren’t quite expecting. It’s so wonderful to listen to an album, of any genre, that encapsulates the varying elements that make us truly human – passionate, unpredictable, unconfined, desiring, free. The subtle instrumentation again draws you to focus on those Dylan-esque lyrics that scream depth and consideration.

Things come to a close with Firmament, a poem, a recording which really needs to be listened to, experienced in person, and considered in whatever way you will. Following the emotional reach of the songs that precede it, this comes as a mighty and provocative piece that demands your attention in the calmest and most likable way possible. C.K. Flach is a name to remember, and this album is one to hold on to for life.

I think music is the strongest medium we have to share ideas, feelings and views. And what I hope for is that whoever listens to my music can take something away with them. Be it a thought, feeling, idea or inspiration. – C.K. Flach

Download the album via Bandcamp. Find & follow C.K. Flach on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Visit his Website for more information.


Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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