It comes as no surprise that the singer-songwriter Eric Andersen can hear the blues in
the paintings of the artist Oliver Jordan. Paths that cross. And it was the music in the
paintings of Oliver Jordan which moved Eric Andersen to rekindle his interest in the
works of Albert Camus. This gave him the inspiration to write the songs which he
performed at the inauguration of the exhibition to mark the centennial anniversary of
Albert Camus' birthday in the Grand Théâtre de Provence, and which were
subsequently recorded and pressed onto vinyl.
Eric Andersen is not just anybody. He is part of the great American folk family. His
songs seek neither to illustrate nor conceal, but to signify. For Camus, a sign of
genuine artistry. Evocatively drawn exterior scenes juxtapose with interior perspectives.
And in the tension between the interior and exterior, a small gap opens – redolent with
meaning and the inexpressible. The gliding of his fingers over the fretboard and the
grain of his voice meld into an idiom of their own. A few chords and the truth: “She
asked me for a symphony, I only gave her songs”, runs the plaintive line from the track
"Time run like a freight train."
Amidst such porous simplicity, Camus' texts morphs into songs. Songs about truth. In
allusion to “The Stranger”, “The Rebel” and “The Fall“, Eric Andersen reaches into the
heart of Camus' philosophy on life: Revealing the truth about oneself. The songs "THE
PLAGUE (Song of Dental)", “THE STRANGER (Song of Revenue)”, “THE REBEL
(Song of Revolt)”, “THE FALL (Song of Gravity)” and “THE PENITENT (The Scream)”
sharpen our consciousness to the falsehoods we strive to obscure within ourselves,
mercilessly exposing our carefully woven web of lies and self-deception. "I have to
create a new truth – after having lived my whole life in a lie”, remarked Camus a year
before his death in the early drafts of his next novel “The First Man”, whose publication
he never lived to see. A disillusioned Camus sets out on his quest for a new truth,
known to the ancient Greeks as "parrhesia": to speak openly and candidly about
oneself. The internal revolt. Laying bare the uncomfortable truth over our own
complicity with society at large. Facing these facts, too! Yet criticising these high-priests
of cold reason only feeds them with the pabulum they require to refine their controlling
mechanisms. For only change from within can effect change from without.
"They’re dancing on the desert floor"(THE PLAGUE). The desert – a place of yearning.
" I'm tired of Paris and the underworld found there. My deepest desire is to return to my
country, Algeria, a country of men, a real country, rude, unforgettable. But for very
different reasons this is not possible,” wrote Camus.