Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves - LP
I can't imagine what people thought of this deeply mysterious band from San Francisco in the late 1970's, to the extent very many people were aware of them at all at the time (or even today.) But there are some artists who come along and are clearly "from another time" -- not necessarily "the future" but just "not from now", and though there is a "futuristic" vibe going on here I wouldn't say anyone else has copped the Chrome sound these past 25 years, nor ever will again in the future. I think one of the key things that makes them so unique is that they came along right at the end of the analog era, and in some sense took the analog audio tomfoolery of your VU's, Fausts and Zappas to the furthest extreme it would go.
But, their music is more than primitive sampling techniques, they rock! Helios Creed lays down badass heavy metal rhythm guitar riffs and berzerker psychedelic leads (often backwards and/or played at the wrong speed.) Damon Edge's drumming is a perfect balance between kraut-motorik-funky and crazy-drunk-garage-band.
And could a band possibly be more "underground"? You can't hardly make out a single word on the whole record. The tracks all blur together, and many of the "songs" are really just a series of random riffs and interludes spliced together. Someone is even credited with "data memory" in the musicians list, presumably a purely technical function like turning the tape machine on and off and manipulating it's speed. We may never know.
Chrome had released two LP's before this one, the ultrarare "The Visitation" (1977) where they don't quite have their sound together (Creed wasn't aboard yet) and "Alien Soundtracks" (1978) which is also a classic though to me sounds like a warm-up for the dense majesty and mystery of "Half Machine Lip Moves." The Edge-Creed team made several more obscure records through the early 1980's, eventually embracing drum machines, more intelligible lyrics and a generally less outlandish sound (sort of goth-industrial-dance rock with a hint of metal -- but still definitely mysterious and "underground.")
One of my Personal Top 25 albums of all time, this is certainly one of those records you can keep returning to and find new things buried in all those layers.
Produced by Damon Edge
Originally Released in:1979
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Siren / Cleopatra
Condition: New/ Sealed
A1 T.V. As Eyes
A2 Zombie Warfare (Can't Let You Down)
A3 March Of The Chrome Police (A Cold Clamey Bombing)
A4 You've Been Duplicated
A5 Mondo Anthem
B1 Half Machine Lip Moves
B2 Abstract Nympho
B3 Turned Around
B4 Zero Time
B5 Creature Eternal
B6 Critical Mass