By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Last year, Anaheim producer Cursed Chimera (a.k.a. Ben Thompson) moved to Orange County from Seattle—perhaps America's hottest hotbed for electronic music. Where he once had access to several kindred spirits and a thriving scene, Thompson now finds himself largely on his own in our relatively barren expanses to wield his sinister synth emissions and ornery beats. If there's anyone else doing what Cursed Chimera exhibits on his new EP, The Great Caldune, I've yet to hear it. (That being said, if you do make unconventional electronic music, send it to me posthaste.)
The Great Caldune tackles the fairly new genre dubstep at oblique angles. It's not a purist, generic record by any means. Rather, the disc laces into dubstep's stark template elements of industrial, IDM and even some Goth via choral vocals haunting the tracks' peripheries. "The Great Caldune" uses said voices as eerily soothing ambience in the background while vehemently stomping beats and blasts of static spray dominate the foreground. The loop of a guy growling the title grates, but otherwise, it's a strong beginning. Similarly, "No More Free Will" finds druggily angelic female voices intoning the title over oddly metered, bandage-tearing beats and ill, insectoid synth textures. "Shadow Laugh" (which contains much reverberant, evil guffawing) descends into Gothic-toned dubstep, embellished with what sounds like Autechre sampling the fried circuits of a switched-on electric chair. "Lift"'s rusted chromium swirl of synths, oblong beats and serious bass pressure could wreak havoc on Disneyland's foundations.
The Great Caldune finishes on a peak with "Let Us Not Remember," which combines spooky, delicate harp trills, a dulcet female chorale and incongruously explosive, spasmodic beats. This disorienting track epitomizes Cursed Chimera's ability to generate a distinctive sonic palette unmoored from genre strictures.
Cursed Chimera performs with the 47th Star and others at Back to the Grind, 3575 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 784-0800; www.back2thegrind.com. July 11, donations accepted. Call for show time. The Great Caldune is available at Fingerprints and Amoeba and online at Beatport, iTunes and Juno. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/djlamp.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to firstname.lastname@example.org.