Sex Machine – as robotically aloof as a rusty lawnmower

Sex Machine Review from 2008

Thus spake Jason Heller.  I particularly liked, while not being exactly correct:

FAC17 Original Factory front cover for Sex Machine

Crawling Chaos, though, was a fucking wreck. Gangling, ungainly, sloppy, self-sabotaging, murderously humorous, and perhaps mildly insane, the group appropriated the title of one of James Brown’s most archetypal funk tracks and basically took a big dump on it. Clinical detachment was the name of the game when it came to that era’s synthesizer-backed post-punk, but Crawling Chaos was about as robotically aloof as a rusty lawnmower–and “Sex Machine” is a dripping, glorious, psychosexual phantasmagoria worthy of Ballard or Cronenberg (or a precociously perverted 11-year-old). The synths are demented, the singing shrill, the beats nearly brain-dead–but it’s the lyrics alone that are worth a trip to the nut farm….

Sex Machine Disc
Sex Machine Disc

One of the nicest reviews I’ve read by miles, and shows that he’d read this website pretty thoroughly enough to grab and use some phrases creatively.

Two points though.

  • When I/we entitled the track Sex Machine I was so musically naive that I’d not even heard of James Brown!!  Maybe Jeff and Eddie did, but not me.
  • Strangely Perfect
    Strangely Perfect

    There are no synths on the track.  The sound was derived from my self-made green toota organ and destructively modified afterwards in my self-made black tube both of which can be seen in this live photo.  So not synthesised as in a Moog etc.

Spot On Description

Finally a proper review of the B-side.  There are some shit ones about by others but Jason’s, I really like:

“Berlin.” The name of that city at that time bore connotations of Lou Reed, David Bowie, and the Teutonic lockstep of Krautrock, which were all clear influences on Crawling Chaos. And they all melt into a dissonant mess all over “Berlin,” an aimlessly menacing jam that limps and burps along for seven torturous minutes before succumbing to some kind of sonic gangrene. In other words: It’s fantastic.

However, Jason’s all wrong (and it’s not his fault) when he says,

Khult and Perfect gradually drifted away from the group, although they reunited in 2003 for a new full-length titled Homunculus Equinox.

A more accurate pattern of events is now thoroughly explained on this website right here: https://crawlingchaos.co.uk/myths#recent  – and neither, even back in two thousand and 3, 8 or 17 were we still “plugging away”.

Best Bit

Despite the minor errors mainly due to myself (SP) not updating this website fast enough, it’s a gem of a review with Jason “getting” what the whole thing was about.  This is his best bit…. I’ll finish with it:

  • Crawling Chaos’ [Sex Machine] is the musical equivalent of getting punched in the groin.
  • While being forced to watch barnyard porn.
  • Starring your mom and dad.
      
Simpson Sex Machine
Simpson Sex Machine

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Better Than Can

Johny Brown (a.k.a. Fusion) on the Invisible Jukebox
Wire Magazine – December 2008

I wonder if Jeff read this before he died.

Johny Brown (a.k.a. Fusion) on the Invisible Jukebox

Within Wire magazine, the Invisible Jukebox feature plays tracks to various musos/artists and gets them to guess the band and chat about them.  Here’s what Johny said about us (and Jeff in particular).  Jeff would’ve liked some of what was said.

Apparently, Fusion was played tracks by Bertolt Brecht, Test Department, Little Annie (Annie Anxiety), Crawling Chaos and others. Here’s what he said about “Berlin”, as transcribed to me by Martin Blank.

‘Cabaret Voltaire? Crawling Chaos? Thank God. I knew this but I hadn’t heard it for 25 years. Wow, can I just listen to it? Excellent. Very Can isn’t it? The vocals are very Cabaret Voltaire. A disembodied, Northern downer sort of voice. A lot of their gigs went on in various doss houses around Whitley Bay. They had this attic studio on Front Street in Tynemouth, which is a very quaint road by day and an absolutely violent strip by night. Very psychedelic, Crawling Chaos, in a driving, forceful Seeds – and Can – like manner. I knew Jeff (Crowe) the guitarist really well. Jeff was a real Canhead, and he loved his hallucinogenics.

I don’t know how they got a deal with Factory, but the minute they started getting any sort of success they destroyed it. They weren’t in it for fame or success or any of those reasons, they were in it to create some serious noise damage, some magic, and get out. They’d either do totally inspired gigs or they’d be completely, nauseatingly bad, and they’d do it on purpose sometimes, just to provoke a reaction. They could be quite stuck up and bratty, but when they got into a groove and got trancey, they could be the best band in the world, better than Can.’

A fine termination in my view.  Some comments would’ve annoyed Jeff for sure, but I’m not saying which.  They’d have annoyed me, once.  Those who actually knew us will know exactly which ones!  But “better than Can” – Jeff would’ve liked that.

      
  –  Berlin Playing

 

 

 

Tony Wilson – alternative comment

Wilson is a Freeman - surely everyone who is dead is free - nice joke!
Tony Wilson

Cerysmatic has pointed out someone else’s alternative viewpoint to the normal heroic rhetoric being bandied around about the sometime record mogul. This relates to the freedom of Manchester thing, e.g. here.

Fair play to John Cooper for publishing the info on his site which, it must be said, normally throws a wholly positive light onto the whole Factory thing.

(originally posted 31/10/2007 – updated for pictures 11/10/2009)