Descartes a Kant , Cleric, The Space Merchants
Equal parts Pop, Metal, Punk, Shoegaze and Cabaret, the critically-accliamed underground sextet, Descartes a Kant (Mexico City via Guadalajara, Mexico) have made a real name for themselves as an otherworldly, unpredictable theatrical live act. So much so that even the Wall Street Journal chimed to say that "(trying) to describe their music is to do it a disservice. It’s loud, racy, incredibly imaginative, sophisticated, funny and wild; it’s as if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs fronted Albert Ayler with Frank Zappa conducting”.
They're now considered one of the leading lights in the vibrant, ever-evolving Mexican rock underground and are now poised to gain greater international acceptance. The band have thrilled both club and festival audiences all over the world - including Russia! - and have shared bills with The Melvins, Stereo Total, Faith No More, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Le Bucherettes, Explosions in the Sky and, Slayer - whose ex-drummer, Dave Lombardo had Descartes open for his Dead Cross project.
The band just released their third LP - Victims of Love Propaganda - on Cleopatra records with Steve Albini at the production helm. This record is in a universe all its own!
Descartes A Kant are:
Sandrushka Petrova :: vocals, guitar
Dafne Carballo :: guitar, backing vocals
Memo Ibarra :: bass, programming, vocals
Ana Cristina Mo :: moog, guitar, vocals
Andro :: keyboards
Jorge Chaves :: drums
Founded in Philly in 2003, Cleric resides in the circle of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Car Bomb – elite musicians playing avant-metal that wows on both a cerebral level and a gut level. Cleric's brand of metal is marked by dark, cinematic atmospheres and free jazz-informed forays, bursting through a base of highly technical, mathy shred. As a review in Chicago Reader phrased it, the sound is "a kind of metal, the way [David Lynch's] Lost Highway is a kind of movie. It's an elastic tissue of creepy electronic noise and barely-human screaming, impregnated with patches of riff-salad grind and hypercube mathcore."
On Retrocausal, Cleric has pushed its style to new heights. Meshuggah-esque hypnosis, doomful synths, spastic skronking, and blastbeats weave together into highly unpredictable, kitchen-sink epics, many surpassing the 9-minute mark. An ominous vibe, straight off a movie screen, underlies everything; lurking in the shadows are mysterious samples and field recordings evoking deep sea and outer space.
None other than John Zorn is a fan and collaborator who lent his talents to Retrocausal. Elder statesman of musical freedom, a man whose massive body of work incorporates jazz, classical, metal, klezmer, film scores, and more, Zorn guests on Retrocausal's closer, "Grey Lodge." Cleric's relationship with Zorn began in 2013 when he invited the band to work with him on his ongoing Masada project, and continued with his tapping guitarist Matt Hollenberg to join his band Simulacrum (along with John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, and Wood).
In addition to Zorn, Retrocausal features guest appearances by Mick Barr (Krallice, Orthrelm, Ocrilim) and Timba Harris (Secret Chiefs 3).
A concept album, Retrocausal is an adventure story set in a dystopian future. Cleric vocalist/keyboardist Nick Shellenberger explains: "Lyrically, Retrocausal opens a window into a bleak sci-fi landscape plagued by environmental fallout, in which corrupt governments send their citizens to die, and centers around one submarine crew that learns of their intended fate and chooses to pursue the beyond, despite the terrors that await. Told from different perspectives throughout the record, it's a story of hope, fear, uncertainty, and constant struggle in the face of failure and death, and in search of something that may never be."
The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia) at The Thousand Caves in Queens, New York.
The artwork was created by Cleric's Nick Shellenberger.
Label boss Spruance states, "When we here at Web of Mimicry ran across Cleric's music it almost seemed as if some kind of prophecy was being fulfilled. The music registered in our minds as a kind of missing link, like an inevitable stage in metal-oriented music that has needed to happen for a long time now."
Somewhere between the astral plane and the sticky floors of a biker bar—that’s the sonic zone inhabited by the Space Merchants’ Kiss the Dirt. At once heavy and propulsive, blissed out and Southern fried, the highly anticipated sophomore release from Brooklyn’s The Space Merchants sits in constant tension between grit and transcendence.
Grammy-winning engineer James Brown (Foo Fighters, Spoon, Kings of Leon) produced and mixed the record, building on the promise of the band’s acclaimed 2015 debut. That record’s sunny psych vibes earned raves from the likes of Magnet and scored a KEXP song of the day.
The Space Merchants, though, took their name from a ‘50s sci-fi novel. And on Kiss the Dirt they set their controls for the ends of infinity, with a thematic sweep that explores notions of mortality, rebirth and chaos. Brown’s production adds muscle and finesse, recalling Black Mountain in joining Sabbath-weight power moves and T. Rexian swagger to the earthy groove of The Band and Bobbie Gentry’s crossover twang. But it’s Mike Guggino and Ani Monteleone’s laser-guided harmonies that, coupled with a layer of atmospheric psych/space tones, launch these ten songs into the cosmos.