The decision to release ‘Christ’s Reality Asylum’ was made to celebrate Crass’ change of label from Southern Records to One Little Indian. Having in 2019 lovingly remastered their entire catalogue at Abbey Road Studios, it seemed only natural that they should release ‘Christ’s Reality Asylum’ as the cherry to top the cake. Radical in the extreme, the release of ‘Christ’s Reality Asylum’ is also a celebration of creative freedom.
The genesis of ‘Christ’s Reality Asylum’ is a story in itself – script written by Penny Rimbaud in Spring 1977, later to be used in part as ‘Reality Asylum’ performed by Eve Libertine as the first track of Crass’ first album ‘The Feeding of the Five Thousand’, released in 1978. Initial recording of Penny Rimbaud’s reading by A-Soma at Red Herring Studios, Autumn 1991. Mastered at Southern Studios by A-Soma and Paul Harding in Winter 1991. Solo voice recording released in cassette form on Crass Records, Summer 1992. Hugh Metcalfe’s backing voice and noise recorded by Tony Barber at The Shedio Studio in Summer 2012. Eve Libertine’s backing vocals recorded by Harvey Birrell at Old Street Studios in Autumn 2019.
It’s also worth noting that the now legendary Crass logo was designed by Dave King (sadly, recently deceased) not as a logo for the band, but as a frontispiece for ‘Christ’s Reality Asylum’ published in 1977 in its journal form. It became the band’s logo more by mistake than by design when Gee Vaucher incorporated it into her stunning broadsheet publication, ‘International Anthem’, from which it became assumed to be a Crass logo. Appropriately, the release of ‘Christ’s Reality Asylum’ coincides with the end of politics as we have known it. A clown in the White House, a joker in Number Ten, but no one is laughing. EXIT STAGE RIGHT.
We kick things off in spectacular style, with 'Shit Mirror' echoing the early days of NIN, all perilous ambient distortions and thumping machinated drums, while retaining the momentous drive of their later records. 'Ahead Of Ourselves' features Reznor's vox twisted out of all proportion, with a wizened percussive detritus trailing behind before snapping into a cutthroat about-turn into the trademark fuzzed-out static redux we've come to expect from them
'Play The Goddamned Part' on the other hand is much more reminiscent of the scattered but cohesive ambience of their greatest full-scope cinematic epic, 'The Fragile, scattered insectile stutters and electronic static underpins the oft-uncomfortable dissonance of a chorus of horns and jazzed-out abstractions.
Flipping over, we get a continuation of the horn-filled dissonance, but pulled along by a frenetic resonant saw-wave, lending an acidic undertone and momentous drive to proceedings before breaking down into a bleak and uncompromising closing duo of the full-spectrum gothic gloom of 'I'm Not From This World' and the twinkling syncopated shuffle of the chillingly deep 'Over And Out'.
So while their debut album, 2009's Yeah So, was a beautifully ramshackle collection of country and folk-tinged strumalongs, 2011's more experimental Paradise pushed and pulled the band into myriad new musical directions. But nothing can quite prepare you for the quantum leap that takes place on their beautifully epic forthcoming third album, Complete Surrender.
Recorded with producer Colin Elliot, who's previously helped create an equally widescreen sound on albums by Richard Hawley, Complete Surrender touches on everything from Motown and the output of Memphis' Stax Records to the immaculately produced pop of the 1970s, via Frankie Valli and David Bowie.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd CD Info: Limited digi-pack edition including three bonus tracks:
12. Don't Call Me Kid
13. Not Mine To Love (Acoustic)
14. Wanderer Wandering (Acoustic)
11 NEW ITEMS
174 NEW ITEMS
Various ArtistsSoul Jazz Records Presents: Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock And Electronic Music 1971-83
Various ArtistsBruton Brutoff - The Ambient, Electronic And Pastoral Side Of The The Bruton Library Catalogue
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