California Chrome

California Chrome

Xander Harris

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Blending tense atmospherics, Italo Disco, and psychedelic industrial through a cache of synthesizers old and new, California Chrome is an exploration of hallucinatory EBM recorded meticulously at his home studio over the course of twelve months. “I wanted to challenge myself to create a record with an internal narrative and pursue performing the narrative out on the road as much as I able,” Harris explains. “I want people to feel something in a personal way that might scare them a little, something they’re afraid to face within themselves.”

A self-confessed “gear addict”, Austin based producer Xander Harris recorded California Chrome at his patchwork home studio which he compares to “a computer lab amidst the graffiti of a mad man’s asylum walls.” Citing a long list of precious vintage Korg synthesizers and drum machines as his primary tools, Harris rejigged his home set up to create California Chrome: “I took a step back from my past software based set ups to focus on a 90% hardware based set up this time around. Using mostly hardware meant upgrading my older gear. I’m constantly changing and re-arranging my set up.”

Horror is a consistent theme in Harris’s work, especially considering his music’s experimentation of Giallo-Horror hybrids: “‘Deep Red’ was the first David Argento film I ever watched and the movie made a lasting impression, especially the soundtrack. Goblin’s use of synthesizer and Chris Squire style bass lines fascinated me. Thankfully in Austin, we have video stores like I Love Video and Vulcan Video where I can rent older Giallo films I’ve always wanted to see and usually those films aren’t on streaming platforms. In regards to the Giallo genre itself, I’m drawn to the quirky plot lines, 70s fashion, photography, and ground breaking soundtracks.”

The album’s title, California Chrome, comes Harris’s fascination with 60s counter-culture in California: “For the amount of positive energy gathered during the late 60s and early 70s, those same people searching for positive change ignored the swirling darkness in their communities that lead to the Manson Murders, Altamont, and the sometimes harsh realities of living life without regard to consequence. This album is a soundtrack exploring disillusionment from spending too many years ignoring my own problems while exploring mysticism to justify how checked out of life I had become. That dreadful feeling of how ignoring bad habits comes back to haunt you in ways you never expected.”

The album feature artwork by friend and frequent collaborator Nicolas Nadeau: “The colour scheme reminds me of certain colour palettes in the urban and rural areas of California,” Harris says. “The pyramid struck with the occult theme of the album and the structure in general had a psychedelic madness that looked like the collapse of a Roman after life.”

A long-time resident of Austin, Texas, Harris has deep ties to the burgeoning live hardware performance community of the area. His remix work has seen him reinterpret material from Peaking Lights, Zyna Hel and Mogwai, creating a Crowley-ian cosmic tone for the dance floor. Debut album Urban Gothic (released on Not Not Fun Records) landed Harris on Fact Magazine’s Best 50 LPs of 2011 list, bringing his work to the attention of Rock Action founders and Scottish legends Mogwai. 

Track List 

  1. The Scarlet Deception
  2. Straight Up Satan
  3. Basilisk Stare
  4. The Eye In The Triangle
  5. Predator State
  6. Nervous Serpents
  7. Buckle Bunny
  8. Dirts

Released: 23rd September 2016