Fire Cleans Everything EP originally released on Election Day (11/04/2020) immediately grabs you with a sense of the tension across the U.S. in 2020.
The opener and title track Fire Cleans Everything the sophomore release from Redwing Blackbird (Denver Based Band, by way of Phoenix, AZ) picks up almost as soon as the song starts with the steady rumble of the drums and driving bass line that, just as easily could have been released in 1984 as today to be answered in turn by the slow whining drone of the guitar.
Paul Bakers vocals on this release reminds me of the first time experienced Red Lorry Yellow Lorry’s Nothing Wrong.
This screams post punk protest music with the restraint of a stalking jaguar as Paul Chants, “FIRE CLEANS EVERYTHING”
This momentum continues on in the liquidity psychedelia of Space Bridge. Something in this track pulls in thoughts of cult band Slint’s Album Spiderland.
Powerful yet just understated enough to become a cult classic.
RW/BB bring things down a notch with Rake, a down tempo neon ballad laced with the echo of western guitar. This track exposes so much aurally that the story becomes visual, as Paul crones Well I use to wake/ Run with the moon/Live like a Rake in such a way that could have just as easily come from the mouth of Nick Cave or Michael Gira, and take you on a journey down the highway heading away from the chaos of the city, even if it is just for a moment in a seedy hotel
Closing this brilliantly composed EP is the chillingly upbeat yet apropos Guillotine, bring me right back to that Red Lorry Yellow Lorry experience. The smell of decaying card board of the Used Trax, and the head phone encapsulating me in some dark embrace that will last for years.
This started out with all the intent of being a review for System Syn’s latest two offerings “Once Upon a Second Act” & the just released accompanying remix album “If It Doesn’t Break You”
Both brilliant offerings from an act that has put out one great release after another but, I decided I didn’t just want to talk about the albums of System Syn, but about the man behind System Syn, Clint Carney and his ever-growing influence not just on dark music and our little corner of the world, but also art and film that’s often over shadowed by the shenanigans of other artists and his down to earth persona.
I first discovered System Syn in late 2004/early 2005 through classic online electro-industrial-EBM show Real Synthetic Audio followed by a tour supporting Imperative Reaction at local legendary Denver Nightclub Rock Island.
This was the first glimpse I had of the energy and creativity of Clint. Since then, I have become a fan on many levels, and through many channels.
As a long-standing DJ and writer in the Goth/Industrial/Alternative Communities I have followed the career of System Syn and Clint with relative curiosity over the years, each release better than the last. Which is saying worlds, with 15 releases as System Syn to date.
I always look forward to new System Syn releases yet dread it at the same time, as there is always more than one track worth spinning, that you know will make people move.
I know this doesn’t sound like a problem, but when an artist has this many albums full of great club worthy tracks that are also massive earworms. One can easily get bogged down and lost in the fray but, I always find something.
Once Upon a Second Act and If It Never Breaks You are no different in that respect. Both are solid albums filled with sonic goodies. Hell, the covers of Pulp’s “Common People” and The Strokes “Someday” are worth the money alone. And looking at the cover art (also done by Clint) brings me to the other side of Clint and System Syn.
As with a lot of artists in the dark and indie music community Clint is a multi-talented artist (more on that later) as well as filling in as a hired gun on multiple tours for acts like Imperative Reaction, and God Module. Adding the to the chemistry and artistry of each band’s live performance.
I have seen Clint live as often in other bands if not more than I have with his own projects. During the Triptych Tour, in Denver he not only played all 3 sets, but when the power at the venue went out, instead of just giving up or waiting, what did he do? That’s right he pulled out an acoustic guitar and continued to put on a pretty fantastic show.
This may not sound like much, yet it was the first time I have seen an artist at this level just take the road block and run with it.
Besides the above-mentioned artists and System Syn, if you go to Clint’s Wiki or Discogs you will see a number of side projects (Fake, Parallel Project) but also how far reaching his influence is working with people all across the board.
One might think it is enough to be a known and respected musician, not Clint.
As I spoke about earlier, Clint is also a prolific artist in multiple other disciplines. His album covers give an idea but nothing prepares you for the sheer volume of his work (very similar to Steven Archer of StoneBurner and Egolikeness in this regard), check out his involvement with Hyena Gallery and his transition into film and music video.
Since that time, he has worked with directors as notable as Wes Craven and David Fincher. And in 2017 making his Executive Producer, Writing and Acting debut in Dry Blood. Currently Clint is in various stages of production on other projects in film.
Talking with Clint, one would barely have an idea of how much he has going on or how wide his influence really is. He is both humble and polite, as well as being more down to earth than most I have had the chance to meet and speak with.
I for one am looking forward to many more years of releases from Clint and his various projects.