‘Torched Laughter’ is Christopher’s 4th release and it is an acoustic companion to the 2006 avant-prog album ‘Smoke and Origination:’ a 68 minute concept based on urban sprawl and the cannibalistic homogenization of western life.
\"’Smoke and Origination’ polarised a few people. Either someone found it to be an innovative and interesting piece of music or they found it to be a bloated and pretentious pile of garbage. If the music makes you react viscerally to it, then I guess I did my job regardless of the opinion.\"
Where `Smoke and Origination’ focused on a massive array of sound to convey the theme of homogenization, `Torched Laughter’ is a quieter effort that is devoted to story telling and personal recollection.
\"If anything, `Torched Laughter’ conveys the state of mind and the experiences felt during the `Smoke and Origination’ recording. You could interpret `Torched Laughter’ as a recording that documents another recording. `Torched Laughter’ is a closing chapter of a life that is in a murky transition. All the awkwardness, uncertainty, and this feeling of stumbling through life ends with `Another Blue Ribbon.’ At least I hope it does.\"
The frustration of being caught in the middle of family strife in the `The Tilted Figure,’ the chilling piano ballad `Finely Tuned Meat’ to the somber yet hopeful plea of `Another Blue Ribbon,’ ‘Torched Laughter’ is an album where Christopher eschews the usual massive arrangements and progressive structures in favour of less tracks and a more stripped down approach.
\"There are no twists and turns, nothing fancy in terms of musicality. The album feels like being in a small room with another person and venting/discussing emotions and ideas that were locked away for a long time. It was crucial (to me) to have the songs based on those on `Smoke and Origination’ because all these feelings, these stories/ideas, were happening during the recording of that album.\"
The album is mostly acoustic save for some subtle hammond organ, mellotron and lap steel. \"I\'ve been an artist who has relied on synthesizers and sampling in the past for most of my recording career. I felt it was time to put all these prosthetics down and be a performer.\"
While `Torched Laughter’ doesn’t push the boundaries of music, it serves to balance out the ambitious concepts Christopher has created in the past. A must-have for fans of the softer side of Opeth, Porcupine Tree, or singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell.