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Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Through the windshield glass

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Unless you’ve been holed up in your Y2K bunker practicing for midnight, you already know Master Cylinder, one half of Junior Communist Club. MC, aka Peter DuCharme, is the musical brains responsible for the hypnotic VW Jetta commercial, "Synchronicity." You know, the one in which a young, attractive couple rolls through a rainy New Orleans observing myriad activities moving in sync to the beat of a looped bottom-beat groove. The other half of the JCC duo is one John Dragonetti, main man of the great-though-underrecognized rock trio, Jack Drag. The musicians’ CV lays the equation for Junior Communist Club out flat out front. But, what Dragonetti and DuCharme manage with the EP Freedom of Speed is an exploration of sound and rhythms, depths and layers that’ll dizzy in the headphones (my personal recommended listening mode for this six-song outing). DuCharme and Dragonetti manage a beguiling alchemy of noisy clutter, breakbeat funk, "rock" elements (does the mere presence of a guitar still mean "rock"?) and dubbed-out sound explorations (particularly on "76 Place" and "Tidal Wave"), with vocals weedling their way in and out of the mix, coloring these sound sketches a distinct noir that no amount of trigger-happy beat-making can obscure.

Freedom of Speed is a vivid slice from a freaked-out sound system teetering on the verge of painting a refracted vision of the chaos of sound around us, windows rolled down, on the streets of a steamy city at night.

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