The LaBiancas - Charles Manson is Jesus Christ
Druglord records, 2013
Few figures have taken the U.S. and possibly the world as controversially as Charles Manson. Is Manson an unrecognized genius and philosopher? Is he the embodiment of all wrong in society? Is Manson both of these? Regardless, Manson has left a huge influence on popular culture for the past half-century, being covered and sampled by such bands as Marilyn Manson, Psychic TV, and Crispin Glover. Few artists have hailed him openly, with exception possibly the former Radio Werewolf vocalist Nikolas Schreck, who once proclaimed, whether in out of provocation or genuine thought, that Charles Manson is “One of the greatest philosophers of our time.”
The legacy of Charles Manson’s marking of popular culture is far from gone, and The LaBiancas stand as a testament to that. A Charles Manson concept band based in New York City, they are somewhat of an underground super-duo, composed of JJ-Brine, whose solo album, President of Mozambique, was released to critical acclaim earlier this producer Lena Marquis. The band’s debut album, the well-titled Charles Manson Is Jesus Christ, presents an almost delirious soundscape evolving around the Manson family history and philosophy through a ranging electronic sound palette.
Sonically, the album jumps in pacing and mood from track to track. The band’s cover of “Helter Skelter”, and”10050 Cielo Drive” give one the feeling of being at a 90s techno-house rave. “Famous For” could pass as an out-take from Brian Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain, while the album’s title track echoes the electroclash movement of the early 00s.”Family Jam” feels like Portishead on a bad acid trip, while “I’ll Never Say Never” is a lullaby nightmare. Despite the variation in sound, the tracks on Charles Manson all share some unifying qualities: droning and unisoned vocals, and a clashing of haunting negativity with poppy beats.
It is this hauntingness that makes Charles Manson possibly among the ugliest dance albums to be released in recent years, and in the best way possible. This album turns the euphoric intentions of the rave scene on its head, leaving a mark of discomfort and darkness upon the listener. While in terms of instrumentation, this album is far from groundbreaking, it is thematically unlike any other electronic dance album… ever. Whether or not The LaBiancas achieve any sort of popular success is not up to question, but this album will surely live in the minds of many as being one of the strangest albums of our times.
Can we put a rating on this? We can’t. It’s too bold of a statement to be pinned to a number.
The LaBiancas are a Charles Manson concept band and one of the most controversial, thought-provoking and conceptually-inspired musical acts we at ASTHMA have encountered in recent times. Tonight ASTHMA sits down with band members JJ Brine and Lena Marquise to get the scoop on this underground superduo’s new album, Charles Manson is Jesus Christ, and their plans for the future.
ASTHMA: How was this project conceived? What is its ultimate goal?
The LaBiancas: We don’t remember when we first started talking about it, but we remember when we first started feeling it. It was a shared assumption that came to fruition at the right time, you know.
ASTHMA: During our initial correspondence you two mentioned that you had been approached by mainstream media outlets that later refused to follow-up, fearing the kind of backlash that covering such a controversial act could bring. How do you feel about that passive aggressiveness on their part, and about venues censoring your set list?
The LaBiancas: Our [everyone’s] hardest fight, as sentient entities, will always be against censorship.
ASTHMA: This question is for Lena Marquise: List three unknown facts for us.
Lena Marquise: I live with a one eyed cat named Matthew In high school I took a vow of silence for a year. And when I was a child I had frequent consultations with my father’s shaman.
ASTHMA: JJ Brine, three fact please.
JJ Brine: In a past life, I was a shark. In 2007 I was kidnapped by Hezbollah while residing in Beirut. I enjoy receiving my oft-told fortune from various psychics that I will play a role in the end of days.
ASTHMA: Do you condone murder?
The LaBiancas: “Sometimes in war, there is killing.”
ASTHMA: Everyone has the same question on their minds; “what’s next?”
The LaBiancas: Our next single is coming out on July 4th, but we can’t tell you what it is yet. Our next album will represent a musical and aesthetic departure from our first; we will be working on a rather streamline soundscape, incorporating natural and analog dialogues, with the accentuating undertones of a theremin, punctuated by static, syncopated beats over a lush bed of rhythmically pulsating alpha and beta waves.
ASTHMA: Do you have any other projects you guys are working on?
The LaBiancas: We are in pre-production to launch our showcase of VECTOR, an art/installation/religious space for the months of July and August, as well as putting together a tour for September. We are constantly shooting short films for our production company Thelemic Films, and have recently been approached about starring in a reality show about our band and our lives. Very exciting!
ASTHMA: What reaction to this first album, “Charles Manson is Jesus Christ” would you consider to be ideal?
The LaBiancas: Illumination. Truth. Clarity.
ASTHMA: Are there any other thoughts you want to share?
The LaBiancas: Look inside yourself. We are one.
The LaBiancas on the web:
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Because we are bipolar and because we love ourselves the way we are, we have reissued our album with new cover art. This is also the cover art that will be used in our physical release, which will be available starting on June 21st. We have removed the other edition from digital distribution and it will soon disappear. Special thanks to DrugLord Records for accommodating us on this matter <3
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