Escape-ism - Introduction to Escape-ism LP (Ltd White Vinyl Edition)Merge Records
Oh, sure, it looks like one, with a label in the center and mysterious grooves etched on
a sleek, black disc that glints in the light with a perverse air of knowing treachery.
And sure, when a diamond needle is dragged through said groove, it shrieks and
sputters with the familiar range of “rock ’n’ roll” sound effects: low-frequency bass,
high-end hi-hat stutters, and a middlebrow voice that gasps and cries for love, justice,
redemption, insurrection, everything.
And yes, Introduction... reacts like a normal record to direct sunlight; it suffers silently
until giving evidence of its agony with an awful “warp.” Its cover is even like a normal
record jacket: glossy cardstock with a cool design, group name, song titles, record label
information, and the like.
But this disc is different. It shouldn’t only be reviewed in the music press but in the
“world affairs” column of a conspiracy-minded newspaper, on a hot-rod review TV
show, or possibly at an important conference by a renowned astrophysicist. It’s that
Why? Because it’s the first “solo” record by Ian Svenonius—of groups The Make-Up, Chain & the Gang, XYZ, Weird War, etc. and author of underground bestsellers such
as The Psychic Soviet, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group, and
Censorship Now!!—and as such, it’s profound, prophetic, perverse, and poetic... It’s
introverted glitter, violence against the state, obsessive desire; it stomps on convention,
shreds constitutions, clobbers pre-conceived notions of what a record can be.
Yes, that’s right: a single-person performance by I F Svenonius—recognized by Performer Magazine as the “greatest performer on the planet”—Introduction to Escape-
ism is a bite into a one-banana bunch.
A drum box, a guitar, a cassette player, and a single slobbering, sinful voice singing
out... for a way out. Live, it’s a new paradigm of performance: raw, gestural, idiotic,
sublime, revolutionary, poetic, faux naïf, unknowing, a drainage pipe that leads to who
Escape-ism’s Introduction to Escape-ism isn’t just the soundtrack for a late-night drive on a
lonely interstate, or a platter played to incite abandon at a pajama party with one’s pals.
It’s also a tunnel to tomorrow. It’s a mineshaft to the motherlode.