Originally published in the CJLO Magazine.
A couple of CJLO peeps and I trekked all the way to Brooklyn with our CMJ Music Marathon badges in tow to catch METZ at the Cameo Gallery, only to discover that the venue had reached its CMJ badge quota. Having come all that way, we resentfully paid the ten bucks and went inside.
METZ played their set, and though very short, their performance was awesome. But this is not a review of the METZ show because after the band emptied their gear from the stage, and the venue virtually cleared out except for a few hangers on, I discovered a different and shiny new gem.
His name is Morgan Z, and he is the mad scientist/musician behind Chrome Canyon.
The first thing that piqued my interest that night was the Theremin. That crazy electronic instrument, with its upright and loop antennas that control this freaky B-movie volume and pitch, has always fascinated me. Before the performance even started we began raving, "ooOoo! A Theremin!" "This is going to be good because there's a Theremin!"
As Chrome Canyon began their set, Morgan Z took the stage wearing a silver lamé shirt and shiny black leggings. How odd! Two musicians (playing drums, bass, and guitar) accompanied him for the performance. I didn't know what to expect, but my first impression after seeing that outfit was, "oh no, not good!"
I was so wrong.
What happens when musicians mix the following components?
Bass and guitar
Robotic voice effects
Strobe and streams of light from a disco ball
I would describe that mixture as "a prom from outer space," but my friend Kayleigh hit the nail on the head when she proclaimed that the music was like something you'd hear at "Molly Ringwald's wedding." She meant that in the best way possible, and I'm repeating it here because the music was just so freaking wild! There was so much talent on stage, it was as if Molly gave birth to a love child she conceived with one of the members of Rush and named that baby Morgan Z.
Chrome Canyon combined several musical elements like the synth-pop resembling new wave band Visage, disco beats similar to Blondie's "Heart of Glass", and a bit of the electro-funk sampling Herbie Hancock experimented with in the early 1980s. All those influences were combined in such a subtle and original way that it almost felt like Chrome Canyon could see and experience the past and the future simultaneously. Perhaps we have the Theremin to thank for that.
The ambient-synth sound of the song "Body Music" was totally awesome and poppy, and the drums had such a fun beat that even the most unlikely Brooklynites were inspired to dance and party. Morgan Z's music is so freaky, so sci-fi, and at times super mellow. I recorded some video of the show, and playing it back now fills my heart with joy that I can't stop smiling. Please, sit back and enjoy some Chrome Canyon music right now:
I would have been willing to spend a lot more than 10$ if I had known what awaited me that night. Chrome Canyon was so much fun to watch.