Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Factrix / Cazazza - "California Babylon" LP + Factrix "Empire Of Passion" 7"

Factrix was an often forgotten, but sorely overlooked American proponent of the early, classic 'industrial' scene. Formed in San Francisco in 1980 from the ashes of post-punk group Minimal Man, this group, headed by Bond Bergland, Cole Palme, and Joseph T. Jacobs, gigged around at the time and released a few precious recordings that are quite difficult to find, but all more than worthwhile.

'California Babylon', an LP released in 1982 by the great Subterranean Records, presents a noisy, dank, and freeform side of Factrix. Legendary madman and provocateur (and really good guy, honestly) Monte Cazazza guests on this, and any fan of stuff like Throbbing Gristle or early Psychic TV would appreciate this collection of guitar deconstructions, serial-killer tape noise, and evil rumblings.

Conversely, the Factrix 7" single 'Empire Of Passion / Splice Of Life' (1980 Adolescent Records) is a marvelously sinister bit of apocalyptic sound poetry and industrial soundscaping.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Though you may not realize it, you have heard echoes of Chrome. Formed in San Francisco circa 1977, Chrome's lifeblood - vocalist Damon Edge and guitarist Helios Creed - joined forces to create some of the punk/post-punk era's most inspiring and original music. Bringing together weird science fiction/industrial electronics, punk-rock abandon and aggression, and a distinctly psychedelic wooziness, Chrome's albums, like the classic 'Alien Soundtracks' or 'Half Machine Lip Moves', were so ahead of their time that they still sound fresh and original nearly 30 years later.

In 1982, Creed left the band and Edge took over for a series of marginal and far less experimental offerings thru the mid-80's and early 90's. The project ended in 1995 when Edge passed away.

Creed went solo and continued the trippy space-guitar mindfucks on his own, but he eventually opted to pick up the Chrome name after Edge's passing. He continues to record for a variety of labels and his unique guitar-warp-psychedelia is still inspiring legions of space rockers and 'heads'.

Groups far more successful and better-known have taken the Chrome blueprint and made it palatable, but the group's original work remains simultaneously bizarre and experimental, and in a class all of it's own.