Awesome is Grey
Enough Records, 2013
Review by Kent Manthie
Chuzausen is a minimalistic-electro beat-heavy wig-out warp factor from Madrid (Spain). Their latest CD, Awesome is Grey is a seven-track album of instrumental, computer-mad science. These guys really are comfortable looping around in the studio and combining elements of a variety of “electronica” sub-genres. “Evil Penguin” is an interesting track – it starts off with a disembodied voice, making an announcement, almost a sort of recorded diary: it starts off with him stating “Near the end of October/Business is treasured [?]/War scare was over/More men were back at work/Sales were picking up/This particular evening, October 30th/Crosby Services estimated that 32 million people/were listening in on radios; and it goes on from there, with other voices chiming in, until ther’s a cacophony of talking, a nonsensical, almost, rambling, too many talking at once to pick up any particular point. Behind all this, from about 10 seconds in is a beat that repetitively drones on under the speaking. Then strange sounds emerge while desperate people are getting agitated. Then, suddenly, at about 1:15 or so, the song takes off, the full sonic treatment gets underway, a real dance mode, with synthesizers, drum machines, guitar and bass that all play in a perfect synch.
This is a good example of the album. The opening cut, “Golden Tales” is a kind of Middle-Eastern sounding tune – a sort of Sufi feel to it, mixed in with French discotheque standards – a soundtrack to a Whirling Dervish party remixed to add some Western bells & whistles in there. Think Beirut, you’re at a downtown Beirut nightclub late at night and the music’s thumping & bumping. It’s that kind of feel one gets from Chuzausen: an international nightclub scene that has inventive DJs who aren’t wedded to any one style. This is as opposed to American nightclubs, where they play all the same mixes and remixes all the time. Being from Madrid, Chuzausen comes from a different plane of existence than the typical American electronic mixmasters. It just goes to show you that music and good times and the sweaty late night dancing that pull them all together doesn’t recognize borders or ethnicities, except as indicated by the style of this or that catchy hook in a cut. The whole world could be a much better, more chilled out place if we got rid of stuffy old men running things – the foreign policies of countries, which usually means doing what the U.S. tells them what to do and how to keep American govt.’s hands off of whatever machinations they’re up to. All of this is really disingenuous, since it’s no secret what’s going on. No matter how “quiet” the spooks in the CIA or whomever, try to keep things, the people in these so-called “developing market economies” as they’re labeled for financial, investor purposes.
Awesome is Grey musically denotes this kind of youthful exuberance that’s been sweeping nightclubs and discotheques the world over – where one can show up at 2 in the morning and dance until dawn to remixes and songs of all varieties – this is one of the few arenas where chauvinism – whether it be nationalistic chauvinism, religious and/or ethnic tensions, once you get inside that dark club it’s all washed away and for a few hours you and your fellow patrons are just fun-loving people. People whose identities don’t matter and for those brief times each night.
So, I’d recommend not only getting a copy of Awesome is Grey for your own collection, but think of it as a tool for the disaffected youth of the world – it is a tool in the arsenal for the incoming generations to use to say “screw the old system of hate and deterrence and threat and let’s let it all hang out. Soon enough, after a new awakening, the stolid bigotry and xenophobia will come tumbling down. Until then – KEEP ON DANCIN’! -KM.