Chrome was one of those groups who fell into three divisions with a public that 1) loved 'em, 2) hated 'em, or 3) were attracted to the mutated psychedelic sounds but never knew what the hell to make of 'em. I was and still am one of the lattermost in the trio of estates. All tracks in Half Machine from the Sun involve the duet of Damon Edge and Helios Creed, cuts lost in the shuffle almost a quarter century ago. Founder Edge and the gaunt, imposing, rangy 6'4" Creed emerged in the period when some really whacked-out ensembles and individuals had half a chance of making some kind of a mark—Tuxedomoon, The Residents, Black Sun Ensemble, etc.—but never really got beyond a certain cult audience. This release shows why.
Chrome is cited as being the godfather of Industrial Rock, and though I doubt that's truly the monopoled case, they were definitely among the prime influences. In turn, the members of the band (Creed wasn't a founder, and the group fell apart when Edge moved to Paris) had been virused by Hawkwind, among others, and often fell into the noisy but fascinating underworld occupied by Richard Franecki & F/i and similar doom mongers. Catch the spacey, warped, insistent Looking for your Door for a great elongated (8:37) demonstration of just that. Part of the charm of Chrome was its enviable manipulation of lo-fi equipment and means to surmount the usual patchy results found a little too revealingly in other groups but which here make the very flaws of the mode into a virtue. No one would mistake Half Machine (a take-off on the '70 album title Half Machine Lip Moves) as coming from Quantum Studios but neither would they guess it was as groundfloor as it was.
I tried catching Creed in his last-minute-addition to the Nektar / Langton / Brainticket gig up in Hollywood in 2011, but he'd bailed at the last second. Too bad, woulda been an interesting chat after a raucous slot could I but have wrangled it, but this nicely makes up for it. Forget ballads and such, Edge and Creed were into distortion, repetition, drenchrome atmospherics, monsters coming out of the wallpaper, and that sort of thing. One can only guess what would eventuate should LSD be entered into the equation by the listener. Regardless, you get 18 cuts in a 74-minute CD, so there's sufficient space to do some serious damage to your brain and outlook by the time the player stops shaking, the speakers cool down, and the windows cease rattling. Not many can take this ilk of strange twilit waves of brain damage, but, for those who can, it never gets old…and the more I listen, the more I'm moving into that first set of audients.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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