Ian Crause is the Essex-originated, verbose, acerbic, literate brain behind the post-rock cacophony that was Disco Inferno, later with Floorshow, and now solo. Crause’s semi-spoken word delivery confronted politics and contemporary urban life in a kind of schizoid, pre-or-proto Albarn/Skinner estuarine drawl – solo is a more mellifluous affair, the scope wider.
Crause straddles a place between the old school values of hip hop, experimentation and politicised polemic and neoliberal contemporary vagary. The sound of Disco Inferno’s sophomore album, D.I. Go Pop, was as wry as anything they made – i.e. the band did not sound at all like The Trammps' dance floor classic they ironically named themselves after, and this album was anything but pop.
Perhaps as a consequence of his frustration with the creeping (or not so creeping) economic neo-liberalisation of the UK, Crause relocated to Bolivia not so long ago, and has been furthering his solo career there. One thing that comes through in his occasional statements and lyrics is an intense dissatisfaction with the abusive lies of postmodern capitalism, and its now notorious ‘trickle-down’ effect.
Crause has known this for years, and it contributed to the title of his last solo album, The Vertical Axis. There is no trickle-down effect – the rich get richer, try to avoid taxes and are supported by the state in order to do so. The sounds supporting the ideas were originally sparked into life by the collage noise pictures generated by Public Enemy and The Young Gods - Crause seems to have found a way to harmonise all this into a sample-heavy, hypnotic barrage, supported by the bleak, orange-haze, neither night nor day atmosphere hanging over the best recordings of New Order, Orbital, The Cure, or Bauhaus.
If the mid-1990s were defined culturally in the UK through Sky-owned football, Liam Gallagher’s post-intelligence tantrums and regressive lads mags like Loaded magazine, there were other forces, diligently and profoundly burrowing away. It’s telling that Disco Inferno’s work has barely dated at all, with the sample collages, brilliantly planned, deployed, and sequenced, mostly by clever guitar and percussive techniques...but this is no lip service. If you were as hypnotized by Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’s sound barrage – mostly pieced together by DJ Terminator X - as I was, then you will fall readily into the arms of Crause’s more urgent work.
Now an expat musician, shouting wearily yet determinedly at England from the other side of the Atlantic, Ian Crause is well aware that the goalposts have shifted somewhat. However, the point is he always knew that, and the world has caught up. If you are now distressed by the 1% outrage, endless middle-east territory rape, globalisation-for-profit at homogenisation of everything you see in front of you – Ian Crause has been telling you this for years, in lyric and sound.
By: Sean BW Parker