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Clock Opera

#sxsw #ClockOpera


Clock Opera, I remember thinking, have this wonderful tendency to sound like their music combines real memories and made up memories, strong memories and shredded memories, and some sense of the mental and physical reality of a classic surprising pop song. They begin a piece of music with exquisite care and end it, just like that, with battle commencing in between, and a dynamic round the bend sense of time. Sound like a group I never remember hearing who decided to imagine what would happen if they sounded like an original pop group whose members consisted of Steve Reich, Scott Walker, Peter Gabriel, Flo and Eddie and To Rococo Rot. That good.

Fragmented and splintered samples, glowing edits, colliding rhythms, forgotten dreams, digital collage, disintegrating intervals, merging tenses and cut up words. The album is full of romance and recollections, re-enactments and speculations, memory and mystery, machine generated mood and human thought. They make a pop music that suggests at the same time that when it comes to pop music we’ve heard it all before and yet, quite simply, because of various machines, random inventions, social pressures, cultural urges, creative surges, networking ease and personal, shared and electronic memory connected with a continuing sense of anticipation, we ain’t heard nothing yet.

Their name fits. It juxtaposes one thing with another, just like their music and their lyrics, which lead to all sorts of sonic, literal and conceptual reverberations. 

Clock, because of the way their music follows strict inescapable patterns on the outside and inside of time, moves clockwise, and sometimes anti-clockwise, tick tocks from second to second, leaps from minute to minute, with minutes to go, always there, mysterious, persistent, biological, atomic, body, face, alarm, the circular band ever present in between the past and future.  Analogue and digital.  

Opera, because of the grand drama, the fearless theatre, the epic, crushing sparkle, the crazy scenery, the concrete stylistic niceties, the way their songs tell their stories, which go all the way from foamy soap to fierce teeming space. 

Clock : duration, organic precision, cutting the day up into small portions. 
Opera : elaborate structures, no half measures, divorced from but dependent on reality, featuring emotional fanatics and representing passions and emotions as morally significant. 

Clock Opera: Machine and human, time and intensity, menace and opulence, real and unreal, fixed in flux.  Wound up, rewinding, fast forwarding, and compelling people to fall in love with the colour of life.

I remember writing about Clock Opera and ending the piece by noting how Clock Opera seem determined in their own special cut-up way to remind listeners even in a world over- filled with too much cynical, contrived and complacent pop music how positively amazing pop music can be, as an entertainment that can actively change perceptions. I remember thinking, I wonder if it is ok to describe them as an eclectic four piece avant pop group.  I remember deciding it was a good place to start.

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