Arrington De Diyonoso, Open the Crown

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 07.15.13 in Reviews

Now 16 years into his career, Arrington De Dionyso is essentially doomed to be underrated. His work with the brilliant, ignored Old Time Relijun channeled the same chaotic mania of The Pop Group, full of slashing voodoo guitars, hyperventilating percussion and De Dionyso’s urgent, terrified howl — which bore more than a passing resemblance to Pop Group frontman Mark Stewart. Since embarking on a solo career in 2006, his work has only gotten more daring and more fascinating. It’s guaranteed to appeal to anyone with any measure of fondness for pioneering late ’70s UK groups like the Slits, Swell Maps and PiL. Like those groups, De Dionyso dismantles jazz, dub and reggae and uses the individual elements to create something riveting and otherworldly. “There Will Be No Survivors” crawls grimly forward, a strangled saxophone punctuating De Dionyso’s seething promise: “We’re going down in flames.” “I Create in the Broken System” is essentially Satanic reggae, De Dionyso doing his best Don Van Vliet over burnt-to-a-crisp, undead two-step. The title track is glorious cacophony, full of falling-down-the-stairs drums, horror-house organs and De Dionyso’s madman proclamations (“I am the shapeshifter! I am the song of psychic fire! 10,000 tigers in my temple!”) It’s one of the year’s most fearless records, daring music for those who dare investigate.