The San Francisco Underground-Chrome`s “Alien Soundtracks”

December 27, 2009  
Filed under Music

Chrome Alien Soundtracks Front iiWhen you listen to Chrome you feel like you are doing something illegal. You are Chrome iiafraid that the cops will knock on your door and arrest you for a Chrome violation. ‘Industrial Paranoia’ comes to mind. I found a new vinyl copy of Alien Soundtracks at Waterloo. Thought I was dreamin`. I haven`t heard any Chrome in about twenty years. Alien Soundtracks was there second record from 1978, and the first one that featured guitarist Helios Creed. In 1979 they would make their masterpiece, Half Machine Lip Moves.

Chrome`s sound can not be contained in a neat little box. You might think of a mad mechanical engineer who goes into his garage and builds an odd contraption from scratch, rusty bolts, metal scraps and greasy engine parts, lying around. Chrome uses tape loops, effects boxes, treated guitars, sound filters, moog, bass, and many unknown sound sources also. A lot of mixing and pre-mixing is presumed as well.Chrome Alien Soundtracks back ii

Slip it to the Android is dank & dark, warm up music for the Manson Family before they made a beeline to the Tate house. SS Cygni has a hypnotic beat with a treated guitar. Pharoah Chromium is an early example of sampling, an analog version, with shards of random industrial noise pasted together. ST 37 has backwards tapes with otherworldly utterances as vocals.

I saw Chrome live in 1981, when I was living in San Francisco. One of the best shows I have ever seen. I think of Chrome as an advanced evolution of the underground side of post-punk movements (No Wave was one). They remained true to their inner selves, their beliefs about art.

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