Crack Cloud

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Crack Cloud: Pain Olympics (2020), 5/10
Military Genius: Deep Web (2020), 7/10

Vancouver's mixed-media collective Crack Cloud included drummer Zach Choy (the original founder), keyboardist Mohammad Ali Sharar, guitarist Jon Varley, and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Robertson. Inspired by punk-anarchist collectives of the 1980s like Crass, they debuted with the EPs Crack Cloud (2016) and Anchoring Point (2017), later compiled on Crack Cloud (Deranged, 2018). The first EP is largely devoted to sterile imitations of the dance-punk movement of the late 1970s, notably the Devo imitation of Drab Measure. The second EP is a more inventive take on the same genre. The brief Graph Of Desire manages to blend syncopated Talking Heads-esque rhythm, dissonant DNA-esque guitar and Pere Ubu-esque emphatic/psychotic delivery. Philosopher's Calling is a new-wave novelty, somewhere between Romeo Void and Trio.

Their album Pain Olympics (Meat Machine, 2020) contains mostly disposable amateurish imitations but Post Truth evokes the percussive chaos of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk; and it's interesting that the (more or less) poppy singles The Next Fix and Ouster Stew sound fashionable in 2020.

N0v3l's debut EP, Novel (2019), conceived by member Bryce Cloghesy, harked back to the aggressive funk-punk of the Bush Tetras and the Contortions (notably in To Whom it may Concern),

Guitarist and saxophonist Bryce Cloghesy also launched a side-project called Military Genius (also spelled as M1L1T4RY G3N1U5) with the album Deep Web (Unheard Of Hope, 2020). An anemic singer, Cloghesy is a master of melancholy atmospheres. The quasi-bossanova Deep Web is quasi lively, but Focus is more typical of his half-alive modus operandi: a Bacharach-ian tune suspended between a cinematic harmonica and a swamp-jazzy rhythm. The hybrid concoctions include LMGD, in which a funky guitar and a romantic saxophone converse over a musichall-style tempo, and the funereal folk-jazz lullaby Born Blind. The nine-minute The Runner is a torpid creature: at first a pulsating industrial electronic workout, it changes course when the saxophone intones a romantic ballad, which is then submerged by a grating electronic drone. Best of all these morbid creations is When I Close My Eyes, which blends a robotic sax phrase and an interstellar radiation to unwind a Suicide-like combination of pulsing neurotic beat and reberved recitation.

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )