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coverpic flag US-Ohio - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 12 - 10/16/97

Charles McClure
Self titled demo cassette

[private pressing]

This tape arrived at the Norwegian Luna Kafé headquarter in an envelope covered with colourful slogans, making it clear that singer/songwriter Charles McClure is proud of his music in a very straight-forward way. According to an included short biography, this tape was first released in the summer of 1996, handed away by McClure himself on Cincinnati's Fountain Square. However, most of the songs on this cassette seems to be recorded in 1994.

Charles McClure has written, arranged and produced all six songs on this demo. Details are not given, but I think he also plays all instruments himself. Anyway, he's a true DIY musician, who has come up with a very unique sound, which is present on all tracks. Although his main inspiration seems to be the 50's & 60's for melody, the production and arrangements are more difficult to pin down. The overall sound quality is lo-fi, but matches the songs' (perhaps unintentional) psychedelic and ambient qualities perfectly.

What makes for the ambience is especially the vocals. The lead vocal is low, so it's sometimes difficult to hear the words. The backing vocals are often welded together with the lead vocal, floating just below the surface in a most intriguing way. But also an unpredictible bass apply some ambient qualities here and there.

The guitar work, both rhythm and lead, is most of the time loose and relaxed, choosing its own way through the songs, straying away from fixed patterns. I'm not a big fan of drum-machines, but the way they are used here, fits nicely into the scheme of things. Any drummer trying to copy the action is in for trouble. Add some twisted synth (flute-guitar, "chinese"-something, etc.), and you're closer to something else than you've ever been.

I've laughed quite a lot while listening to this tape, but a song like My Personality is also beautiful, and even though I can't make out all the lyrics, its emotional qualities grows on you. It could have been a Roy Orbison tune, but I find it very hard to mention other artists as reference for McClure's sound, which is extra-terrestrial, and a bigger mystery than any X-Files case. I guess listening to this tape can give you a taste of how it's like being abducted by a UFO - when it's all over, you don't quite know what really happened, and it's hard to find words describing the experience. All you know is that McClure has left an implant in your brain that will be hard to remove.

The cassette is available from Charles McClure himself.
E-mail McClure for further information, or drop a postcard to the following address:
Charles McClure, 6308 Corbly Street, Cincinnati, OH 45230 USA.

Also, take a look at the Luna Kafé Chas interview!

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