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STEREO EMBERS VIDEO/TRACK PREMIER – “Mallangong” from Reissued Bruce Haack Album ‘Captain Entropy’

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As regards appreciation of the arts, specifically, for our purposes here, music, startlement is undervalued. Not simply insofar as how the vast majority of our species seek out the comfort of the familiar – though it needs be said that faction is legion, so common it’s a given – but as well within the context of those vanishingly few that are driven by a proactive, often voracious curiosity, which by definition includes you the reader as otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Naturally, however, and a bit perversely, that fevered inquisitiveness, over time, can (irony of ironies) lead us to develop our own tendency to believe that in many respects we’ve more or less ‘heard it all.’ Which isn’t suggesting we’d lay claim to having actually heard everything but rather that, at least in the genres we’re most connected to, there’s little expectation that a new, or, in some cases heretofore unheard-of, artist is going to surprise us, let alone leave us agape. Think of it as a kind of pleasant jadedness, one of the unspoken assumptions we carry around with us without allowing it much thought or challenge, realizing at the same time – and generally accepting – that it brings with it the fairly obvious risk of its own complacency, at which point, if we know what’s good for us, we shake ourselves out of it by reaching for, say, our Love Supreme or Metal Machine Music (for this writer it’s Pete Shelley’s Sky Yen), or, in serious cases, further out toward the margins wherein your Cages, Partches, Feldmans or whatever your avant proclivities might be which, handily, brings us to today’s video premier of the track “Mallangong” from the upcoming, Kramer-remastered reissue of Bruce Haack’s 1974-released Captain Entropy album , due August 25th courtesy the ever-intrepid Shimmy-Disc label. Completely new to us here at SEM, the beauty of not just this particularly intriguing track but the album entire is its utterly mesmerizing teaming of out-there-but-not-really composition, effects and sound-manipulation that are simultaneously daring and warm, and – especially – its narrative concept with an utterly sincere, kind of adult naif-ish delivery. To say that this record, its style, is sui generis is to undersell it. For myself, I can only say I was, well beyond expectation (there’s that word again), powerfully captivated. 

As can be heard from the proffered track, there’s an earnest playfulness mixed with an uninhibited sincerity mixed with a kind of matter-of-fact fantasia level of story-telling that is in itself gently (but quite surely) mind-blowing but to be honest what really made me literally gasp the most through pretty much the entire album is its compositional strength, its blending of jazz-based chord structures with funky-lite rock shuffles with no shortage of soul flourishes brushing up against the edges, all of it supporting Haack’s vocal approach which is that of the most utterly cool, farthest out of any far-out yet straitlaced grade school science teacher anyone ever had ever. And while that listening experience had me jotting down lines like “imagine Sun Ra appearing on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Mancini inhabited by the Beat manalishi of Kenneth Patchen or Ken Nordine” that in themselves, I suppose, have some invocative (if not altogether accurate) purchase, those and most of the other words I’ve chosen here mostly fall short, as words tend to do when faced with startlement so immediate it becomes astonishment, at which point the words end and speechlessness begins and that’s exactly where this record brought us. To put it bluntly I’ll just say this, with some emphasis:

You will not fucking believe it.

[pre-order here; scroll below for some news and insight from Kramer]


Haack was the consummate musician, but he was a composer first and foremost, and Shimmy-Disc is proud to partner with his estate in spreading the word about the sounds and visions of his life’s work. This reissue LP is only the beginning. Captain Entropy is no ‘novelty’ release made solely for kids. This record, like everything else Bruce Haack ever created, is for Everyone.”