With Jack Conte, one hears the wild sides and strange amalgamations of the avant-garde and electronica scenes blended heroically into the pop genre for a result that's striking in its brazen energies and emotional crescendos—at times dizzyingly heady, as in The Greatest Hoax. In fact, in a number of ways, he's the flipside of Knox Bronson's (reviewed here ) dreamily soporific melodies and flowing landscapes. Conte crafts mountainous cityscapes in a jumble of colliding tangents as he wails amid towering architecture, electric avenues, and alleyways as thrilling as they are foreboding, a ceaseless carousel ride through the modern oddtopia we call civilization.
Everything here is completely of his own manufacture: the playing, the recording, the arranging, the writing…the guy's a whiz kid and a half and possessed of bravado not often heard. The opening cut, Hollywood Endings, will take your head off in a rush of exhilaration and crosscut beats. No song has a definable timbre base and quiltings this crazy shouldn't work…but do…brilliantly. Sleep in Color is meant to disorient while it enthralls, to lift the spirit while tossing the listener from pillar to post in hedonistic abandon and psychological strategy.
This CD is a unique work, progressive as all get-out while distinctively pop, as arresting as the Buggles and as experimental as Rundgren's weirdest side. Too short by miles, a 5-cut EP, Sleep in Color had better be the precursor to a full-length final release or there'll be trouble in Dodge City. This sort of daring needs to get out and influence others above and beyond the audience this guy richly deserves. I was once surprised in conducting an interview with Morton Subotnick when he professed a love for turntablists, laptoppers, and such, so I have to say I think he'd be just as impressed with what's being done by Jack Conte. I've heard nothing quite like it myself and hope to hell this is just the beginning of a long career.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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