Chrome Flashback/Chrome Live
The Future is now, or, in Chrome’s case, the Future is yesterday…
Head music; space rock, acid punk; Offworld jazz; Chrome’s been defying classification, musically and intellectually frustrating music listeners and music industrials alike. Psychedelic runoff of the early U.S. punk scene, generally existing in San Francisco, Chrome was resigned to mostly European labels, and for over twenty years, lived in the obscurity of independence and weak distribution. One has to hand it to Cleopatra for not only managing to preserve the Chrome legend, but also their capacity to reinvigorate it. So much great and highly experimental music of the past two decades has been lost. It’s real inspiring to see sonic treasures such as these unearthed, dusted off, and repackaged, only to still have substantial cutting edge bite. This two-disc set is an affirmation and celebration of a fact only until recently few have known: Chrome for over the past twenty years has always been and still IS the best fucking band ever.
Chrome Flashback can’t be a “best of” anthology because all the Helios Creed/Damon Edge Chrome is best Chrome, but, overall, this disc as well as the other puts a face on Chrome’s past, while leaving doors opens to Chrome’s future. (For the more definitive exposure to Chrome’s past, check out Chrome Box ) Inclinations should now drive towards re-familiarizing one’s self with the post-Edge incarnation of Chrome. In comparison the new Chrome holds its own with classic tracks contained here.
Chrome Live harnesses the original Chrome spirit. Like inserting live wires into raw flesh, Helios Creed has somehow managed to resurrect the Chrome Police, and it would seem current Chrome initiates are also possessed by the raw power of Chrome. Energy-wise, the distinction between old and new Chrome is a blurry mutation. It may seem strange to base a comparison upon “energy” but Chrome always seemed more a “force” than a group. This is an act many would gladly donate pineal glands to attend because for each of Chrome’s original fans, there are now legions of dogmatic audiophillic converts who arrived late after the Edge-Creed breakup. Chances are Chrome will fare much better amongst the more sophisticated ears of an early 21st Century audience than it did with those of the late ’70s, early ’80s.
During the ‘93 Hawkwind tour, Helios Creed said quitting Chrome and Edge was the easiest thing he ever did. The fire of having to subject to one another’s genius’ must have been more than either could bear. Without Creed, Edge’s Chrome was sterile, synthetic and often vacuous, whereas Helios Creed’s solo work could become sonically abrasive enough to be highly “user unfriendly” to music listeners. In Creed’s case, less is more. His distinctive guitar’s punch is far more powerful when subdued by the late Edge’s ghost haunting all, save a couple tracks on these discs. Creed and Edge provided each other a tempering and complementary balance
Chrome assaults a world of chaotic mixtures of technology and superstition with their own chaotic blend of technology and superstition that slips through the ether. Sci-fi da da and misinterpreted alien communications, invading both conscious and subconscious realms, the demands of ensuing times will require us to be as Chrome: More and/or less than human. Trust me: far more has been said about much less. Hopefully, this is a sign Chrome will be around, in one form or another, for another couple of decades.
Note: We’re supposed to be impressed by the fact Quentin Tarantino has finally been taken with Chrome this past spring. Ech! Who cares, considering what he’s done to associate so much schlock with music rooted in the Seventies?! His previous musical endorsements champion much of the music Chrome fans always suffered and retreated from.
Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella #251, Marina Del Rey , CA 90292