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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Ian Crause March 30, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, The Left, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Salvador Allende. Ian Crause. Disco Inferno. Post-rock. Salvador Allende?

Ah, that Ian Crause. For it can only be Ian Crause, formerly of influential 1990s post-rock outfit Disco Inferno who would be referencing Salvador Allende. Or class dynamics. Or structures of power. Or myth. And putting these in the context of melodic but challenging music.

In the early 2000s he had two solo releases, also brilliant in an understated way, leaning more towards a pop-inflected approach. Two releases, five songs in total and that was that for a decade.

Perhaps buoyed up by the reception a range of DI re-releases received over the past year or so when their sheer brilliance was recognised more widely than it ever was when they were actually extant.

The new material tilts sharply back to the latter days of Disco Inferno and it is not released as a cohesive whole or album but instead as individual tracks on Bandcamp here. There is a three party “The Song of Phaeton” which has cow or goat bells on it, that’s surely a first.

“More Earthly Concerns” kind of throws everything into the mix, and by everything I mean everything. Almost eight minutes long and yet not one is wasted with a swirl of samples, treated half-sung, half muttered vocals. Keyboards and treated sounds shimmer and burst. Bass and guitar arrive, depart, return. It builds to crescendo, then fades back and then builds again ending in a… well… see for yourself.

And the lyrics? In the accompanying notes he writes:

It´s a satire on the spiritual dogma which says that free-capitalism is the economic expression of divine liberty. The affluent choose to buy into this politico-religious idea as it gives a moral imperative for their comfortable lives, even a sense of higher purpose, just as the ancient Romans coopted Xtianity into their imperial worldview to justify their own earthly concerns.

And:

While the part of the second verse which is set in a London sports bar might sound formless, if you listen you might be able to make out a revving Ferrari carrying the melody line to the track in the distance. I worked in the City of London for years and there was often some tit revving a supercar within earshot. It appears to be what they are for.

Been there, heard that and glad someone has managed to work it into music.

“Suns May Rise” continues this approach of choppy vocal samples, is that a sample of George Bush? Does Crause reference ‘the surge’. It doesn’t matter. It is political, angry, melodic, as if four or five groups were playing simultaneously but somehow instead of this being chaotic reinforce each other. And underneath it is a twisty little melody.

“The Vertical Axis”:

The song is a song of circles, arcs and spirals.
It looks at the current class war capitalism we have and whether its supposed basis in the vertical axis of individual success or failure is true or whether it´s a fallacy.

His thoughts conclude:

The last words belong to Chile´s ex President Salvador Allende in the radio message he gave to his nation shortly before shooting himself as the fascists used fighter jets to bomb his palace during the September 11th coup: ‘History is ours’.

“Black Light” takes a serious and timely pop against liberal condescension towards the working class.

I like the explanations as to how some of the sounds are constructed:

Also, just before the first chorus I have used one sound for 3 purposes. What begins as the rope creaking on the wrecked boat becomes the dots in the text between the lines ‘Listened on….’ and ‘Until…’ before ending up as the kick drum for the first chorus. I like this so I am explaining it because I feel it adds to the, erm, ‘fun’.

Perhaps appropriately there’s only one video on YouTube for these tracks – that being “More Earthly Concerns”.

In a way this is the logical extension of Disco Inferno’s relentless experimentation, in a career that in and of itself encapsulated post-punk and after, from the early strongly Joy Division styled offerings of their first album and EPs to the more New Order/Wire like material of their middle phase and on to the post-rock of their final phase. What’s genuinely remarkable is how much more of this territory he demonstrates there is to explore. But I think that the fact it is so strongly politicised is what gives it a greater power still and subtly moves it on from being interesting genre workouts.

There’s a comment on Youtube or Bandcamp that some bands don’t have as many ideas that he (and DI) pour into an individual song in a career. Not far wrong. This music sparkles. Literally.

More Earthly Concerns

Elemental (2000)

Head over Heels (2002)

Starbound All Burnt Out and Nowhere to Go (Disco Inferno)

I’m Still in Love (Disco Inferno)

Comments»

1. Ian Crause | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - February 22, 2014

[…] so long ago did a This Weekend on Crause, and now he’s gone and released various tracks from 2013 (with some recent additions) as a new […]

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