Ian Crause, the former leader of the influential post-rock band Disco Inferno, has announced a new EP, The Song of Phaethon, to be released on July 29.
The album follows last year's acclaimed The Vertical Axis, Crause's solo debut and the first LP by any member of Disco Inferno since the band's demise in 1996. On the tail of his previous album, The Song of Phaethon continues to blend mythical narratives, political concerns and sample-based electronic music onto a powerful whole. The EP comprises three songs, actually three movements of a single composition, which evolved through the last couple of years --Ian Crause first shared a version of the EP's opening section back in 2012. The tracks were recorded at Crause's home studio in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
The EP features a reimagining of the Phaethon myth as told by Ovid: a young Greek discovers to be Apollo's son, and travels to the Eastern end of the world to ask his father to let him lead the Sun through the firmament, knowing it would be a fatal endeavor but convinced of his entitlement to the task. Crause traces a parallel between his interpretation of the myth and Western ill-fated militaristic campaigns in the Middle East. While thematically the EP is not dissimilar to The Vertical Axis, the Phaethon songcycle is quite bolder in terms of sound. An accurate comparison could be found on Public Image Ltd's The Flowers of Romance or Wire'sChairs Missing, both uncompromising departures onto conceptual radicalism from preceding deconstructivist works.
The Song of Phaethon EP finds Crause on full control of his picturesound technique, a compositional strategy that conceives songs as moving pictures, where sound and music illustrate and carry the narrative. Crause has described the resulting songs as " a moving matrix of pictures and symbols with the human being, the listener or singer, at the centre, and the whole world spinning around them." A template closer to Humanist Medieval art rather than Modern compositional techniques, according to Crause. He first showcased the technique in his last year's LP; though where The Vertical Axis kept closer to traditional song structures, this EP's allegorical song-story falls in the intersection of verse, poetry, sound and music. However, these tracks are not entirely detached from Disco Inferno's legacy, combining Technicolour's bold electronic leanings and D.I. Go Pop's moodier pieces. The result is a grand scale, ambitious composition unlike anything else you can hear today.
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