When Escape-ism—nom de guerre of mythic rock ’n’ roll provocateur / theorist / revolutionary Ian Svenonius (performer, author, filmmaker, etc.)—announced the imminent release of its second long-player, The Lost Record, it shook the foundations of the hermetic swamp / tundra known as “underground music.”
In the music world, a “lost record” is the term for an LP that was passed over, unappreciated—maybe not even released—but is later discovered, unearthed, and celebrated by in-the-know tastemakers and canny connoisseurs. Many of our culture’s favorite records are “lost” records; once despised or unheard, they’re now in heavy rotation in the clubhouse and in the car.
Indeed, every group or musician dreams of making such a seminal record, with the heroic underdog narrative of:
Initial rejection by philistines
Clueless mishandling by the record company
An aimless amble through the desert of neglect
Rediscovery and veneration
However, the process a record has to go through to be “lost”—and then found again—is arduous. It’s also quite risky, since most lost records are really just lost: tossed aside and forgotten forever.
So, when Escape-ism—the most exciting group in the world—announced its new and highly anticipated release The Lost Record, it created a commotion. For some, it seemed unfair for Escape-ism to jump ahead of the usual protocol and not go through the degradation that a historic “lost record” suffers: the endless time spent in a bin in the basement or a remote warehouse. Unshipped, unloved, unappreciated.
But for Escape-ism, it seemed easier to circumvent the rigmarole and just get on with it.
The Lost Record is a classic, destined to bewitch the minds, hearts, and dancing shoes of any rock ’n’ roll fan who happens to discover it, for as long as such creatures exist. Without the high-octane hype machine of the mind-control minstrels who hypnotize the hapless through the mass media, The Lost Record is bound for inevitable obscurity, but—with its timeless tunes, poignant message, and innovative sound—rediscovery and immortal status is equally assured! The Lost Record, being what it is, has enormous selling potential. Music enthusiasts will be thrilled to be the ones clever and kind enough to have rescued this platter from oblivion.
The tunes—“Bodysnatcher,” “I’m a Lover (at Close Range),” “Exorcist Stairs,” “Nothing Personal,” and the rest—are foot-stomping classics as sung by the greatest song stylist and most dynamic performer of the epoch, Ian Svenonius. It’s a no-brainer that The Lost Record will be both unfairly neglected but also enshrined as a pinnacle achievement for subterranean civilization.
Recorded in four different studios—Gaucho in Los Angeles, Flat Black in Iowa, Tonal Park in Takoma Park, MD, and at Club Blasé in DC—the record is the culmination of humanity’s attempt at something poignant, perverse, and poetically imperfect.
Escape-ism is the work of Ian Svenonius, the author of Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group, The Psychic Soviet, and Censorship Now!!; the singer of The Make-Up, Chain & the Gang, XYZ, et cetera; the writer / director of What Is a Group?, the world’s only rock ’n’ roll sci-fi documentary exploitation film; and the host of “Soft Focus,” the musician-on-musician chat show that preceded all the pretenders.
Escape-ism, though, isn’t a footnote in a laundry list of awards and citations; it’s the most vital thing going now. At festivals, clubs, art galleries, happenings, parties, and put-downs, Escape-ism is ripping up stages, unlocking cages. Escape-ism reinvents rock ’n’ roll the same way the jet engine reinvented travel. It’s an enchanting and terrifying answer to the mire of contentless, going-through-the-motions beat groups and electro-aggregates, the empty formalist exercises and tedious tumblr tantrums of the nowaday scene. It’s the one thing that could possibly save the whole “live music” thing from collapsing inwards into a tar pit of inane drivel, navel-gazing egomania, and popular disinterest.
While perhaps serving as an antidote to the malaise of contemporary rock, Escape-ism isn’t hung up on silly scene squabbles or paisley pillow fights. It has a cosmic scope and is the only sane voice in the universe.
Listen to Escape-ism. See Escape-ism. Feel Escape-ism. Breathe Escape-ism. Live Escape-ism.
“In a world of make-believe, it’s time to escape into reality … with Escape-ism.”