Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kaleidoscope Death - Kaleidoscope Death's Odyssey in Confusion and Contemplation (2007)

Kaleidoscope Death is probably best described as experimental lo-fi rock played mostly on acoustic instruments.  (At least as far as this album is concerned.)  Recorded on a 4-track in his hometown of Greensboro, Chuck Chambers has been putting out tapes and cds under the name Kaleidoscope Death since 2004.

What at first seems like a collection of simple chorded songs with verses and choruses quickly becomes a washy aural dream, not unlike listening to shoegaze music.   In fact I'd say that Kaleidoscope Death exists somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and the more lo-fi side of the Sebadoh incarnations.  True to shoegaze, the vocals are often lost in a sea of instruments. On KD's Odyssesy in Confusion and Contemplation more often than not, percussive acoustic guitars dominate the space as the mostly unintelligible vocals float around in a muddled mess of warm tape analog earnestness.  Unlike many shoegaze bands, there isn't any sense of grandiosity going on here - in that regard Kaleidoscope Death is a lot like Lou Barlow recording whatever diddy happens to be on his mind at that (possibly stoned) moment.  

Made for no one except himself, Chuck seems to put out an album every 6 -12 months.  Like many of us, his solo project is not his only musical love affair.  He is part of the charmingly incestuous Greensboro collective known as the Subjective Collective , where he plays in several different projects (Blank_Blank, Secret Message Machine.. ).  The words "subjective" and "collective" not only rhyme, but are an obvious statement of purpose: The music made by those individuals and groups is about their subjective experience, nothing else.  They're making music only because it feels really fucking great to make music.  That's rock-n-roll—Even when it's folk, synth pop, noisetronics, death metal, psychedelia, (especially psychedelia), or beach music.  (Okay, not beach music.  gross.)  Although I'm not officially part of the Subjective Collective, I'm friends with many of those fine young men and women, and share the same mission statement that's kind of half-assedly hidden in their name. 

What you will find on Kaleidoscope Death's Odyssey in Confusion and Contemplation is an array of passionately strummed acoustic guitars, haunting whistling, drunk tambourines, fuzzed out electric guitars, creepy voice samples and backwards feedback.   Chuck's welcoming murky vocals surface through the acoustic noise and radiate his modesty.  

Oh, and I almost forgot, (as it is easy to forget), that Chuck only has one hand.  I think it's always been that way, but I've never asked him or anyone about it.  Because it doesn't slow him down in the least, it is easily overlooked.  When he plays drums in the slacker college rock group Blank_Blank, he uses electrical tape to attach a stick to his handless right wrist before beating the living hell out of his drum set.  

Chuck is a talented, shy, multi-instrumentalist introvert, with only one hand, who will stop at nothing in his quest to play music forever.   

To learn more about Kaleidoscope Death and become his really real true friend, go to

To hear more about the Subjective Collective visit one of their sites.  New   and   Old.

There are some pretty funny names here.

1. heading off pts. 1&2
2. someone else's relic (headed off)
3. on going into town
4. matter of consequence
5. somanyroadsbluescelebration
6. cautionary little village
7. confusion suite
8. i want no place in your world
9. (what's so fun about) normal people
10. contemplation suite
11. one man homecoming precession waltz
12. somanyroadslbuesshuffle
13. the first stone
14. the first stone's throw
15. routine
16. death dream
17. somanyraodsbluesrelief
18. never to old to fuck shit up
19. last song
20. heading off pt. 3

get Kaleidoscope Death's Odyssey in Confusion and Contemplation here

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