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Electrician – Wet And Ripping The Lake In Two

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Neil Campau is a rare, rare breed.

While other artists tend towards heavy production and sparkle to gain attention, Campau (under the ‘Electrician’ moniker) opts to wear his heart on his sleeve and present his political, social, moral and spiritual views as a backdrop for the music.

“Since 2011, Electrician has been releasing singles showing the evolution in Campau’s songwriting from a focus on historical themes and politics to a more personal expression of his anarchist sensibilities. He explains the songs as “shadowy” and “intimate” and being about “death and destruction and friendship.””

The latest release, Wet And Ripping The Lake In Two, was

“conceived and created in a squatted house in the Ghost Town neighborhood of Oakland, California, in December 2013 and January 2014. The final mix happened at Laguna Seca, an RV park and race track in Salinas, California. All of these songs are about friends, family, betrayal, and love.”

The album begins with ‘Our Scalps Are Dry’, featuring a noisy synth wash that at times dissolves into pure white noise, with Campau’s nonchalant vocal sitting on top. It’s unsettling and intense, and perfectly encapsulates the feelings he expresses of dissatisfaction and a sense of loneliness. Further along, a house organ cuts through, pulsing energetically against the other frequencies and adding a melodic glue to the composition. Underneath it all, if you listen hard, a distant guitar offers its tones but never once forces itself into the mix. Touching.

After an abrupt end to the opening track, ‘I couldn’t feel safe’ couldn’t be more different – a fragile acoustic track that comes in at just over a minute that presents themes of domestic abuse, fear and breakdown of trust. Heartbreaking.

‘That’s How We Do It (Again)’ shuffles along with a lo-fi drum kit and an acoustic guitar with oblique lyrics: “Your breath blows through my fingers / Though my nails are made of glass / And they shatter in your eyes”.

Instrumental track ‘The Cave That It Lives In’ plays out as a drum solo with plenty of room in the mix, that gets increasingly frantic until it starts to resemble a packet of popcorn in the microwave, not unlike something Lightning Bolt would put out.

Closing track ‘You Can’t Kill Everyone’ is what you might call a ‘slow dance’ number. The chord progression, wistful vocals, and synth lead all work together to create a sense of nostaliga and melancholy.

Neil Campau gives such a genuine performance, and there is such integrity in his work as an artist committed creating art no matter what the cost. Get this album, and support him in all that he does. We need more artists like him.

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