Clang Quartet – A Slow Death For The Peacemaker (SM0NR2)
Strange Mono, in collaboration with No Rent Records, are announcing the release of Clang Quartet’s new full length album A Slow Death For The Peacemaker. Clang Quartet is the musical project of Scotty Irving (drummer for Spirit Of Hamlet, Geezer Lake, Eugene Chadbourne, and others) self described as “HARSH NOISE, DRUMS, PERFORMANCE ART FOR JESUS since 1997”. Clang Quartet can’t be contained by genre. A true industrial renegade from Stokesdale NC, Scotty has performed with artists like Mike Watt, Ariel Pink, Acid Mothers Temple, Z’EV, and countless more.
Scotty has been persevering under the moniker of Clang Quartet for over two decades. Refining his long form improvisational performances that utilize homemade instruments, sculptures, masks, and divine inspiration, into unforgettable moments in time. How does someone who has so brutally never fit in with his church, his peers, or noise music as a whole find the drive to keep going? Scotty believes in himself and his righteous acts of expression. He doesn’t know if what he makes will resonate or make a difference to those around him but he believes in the work. He believes in what he is putting out into the universe. He believes in humankind’s overarching search for peace through art and expression. Clang Quartet’s output can at times be as ugly as it is enthralling, and as brutal as it is endearing. Every coin has two sides. We believe in Scotty and so should you.
A Slow Death For The Peacemaker marks another step in the transitional sound for Clang Quartet. The use of lyrics, a more targeted approach to composition, and a directness of subject matter propel Clang Quartet into a new era. Building on his last release 2021’s Judge Thy Neighbor, Love Thyself, Scotty drilled down creating a more concentrated sound. The album’s first track “The Abortion Card” has a classic rock and roll structure of hooks that reinforces the lyrical depth. “With Weariness And Heavy Heart” has a more intimate feel with vocals that are subtle, heartfelt, and close, paired with sparse rhythms and an escalating atmosphere. Banished From Eden/A Christian Without A Church takes on a hymnal feeling with layered melodies and soft rising drones showing us what early industrial acts like Current 93 could have become in the later years. The album’s last two tracks are more a return to the classic Clang sound. Friends Become Enemies (Psalm 55:12-16)/Purification By Fire (Ezekiel 22:17-22)/Prayer For Peace (Psalm 139) has lush layers of noise, spasmodic percussion, and samples finally resolving in the flowing of a river. Sufficient Grace (sounds based on my December 2022 MRI)(2 Corinthians 12:9) the album’s final track is triumphant in its minimalism as Scotty attempts to recreate the sounds he heard as he underwent an MRI for his recent cancer diagnosis.
Clang Quartet has been an important voice in experimental music since the late 90’s and will continue to be “Until God is finished with me on planet Earth”.
All the proceeds from sales through Strange Mono are being donated to Second Harvest, a hunger relief charity that serves North Carolina.
Your new album “A Slow Death For The Peacemaker” is kind of a departure from your last recordings. What inspired the shift in direction?
“This new one is not as TUNE oriented as JUDGE was. JUDGE was made up of a number of unfinished songs that I was writing for another unnamed project. In the end I decided to use them for Clang Quartet. SLOW DEATH FOR THE PEACEMAKER has fewer riffs simply because I didn’t have many to use this time around. The ones I did have wound up being smothered in a volcano of harsh noise and percussion! I DID continue using words as part of the overall sound, and this release will have yet another lyric sheet with it. This is only the second time I have used a lyric sheet!”
Your first track on the Album “The Abortion Card” is delivered like the lord’s prayer. Asking forgiveness for the contradictions in modern christianity. Are these contradictions something you find yourself struggling with?
“What most Christians consider being CHRISTIAN these days is NOT a representation of what JESUS says in my opinion. I simply feel that we’ve turned our backs on basically ANYONE who is not like us, or someone in our immediate church family. I hear people say that their church is open to ALL PEOPLE, but I know people personally who would be asked to LEAVE their church if they visited, and one of those people is probably going to be ME.
I have a major problem with people who refer to themselves as PRO-LIFE but seem to only focus on unborn children. In other words, they focus only on people who can’t disagree with them, dress differently than them, can’t believe or DISBELIEVE in God, etc., but when these children are born, suddenly that LOVE just disappears. Then they treat these children the same way they treat the adults they don’t approve of. PRO-LIFE should mean LIFE PERIOD, not just pre-birth, shouldn’t it?”
The last track on the album “Sufficient Grace (sounds based on my December 2022 MRI)(2 Corinthians 12:9)” is stark, with its minimalism, yet at the same time triumphant and resolved. Do you think your power is made perfect in weakness?
“For those of you reading this who do NOT know, that MRI led to a low level prostate cancer diagnosis a few weeks later. I have had a biopsy, and my urologist and I have agreed to not go the surgical route at this time. This is a VERY slow moving cancer that more men die WITH than FROM. I will continue my six month visits to the urologist and take further steps IF needed. Now, my recording was a somewhat silly attempt at reproducing what I heard during that MRI, which was very interesting. I couldn’t bring a recording device inside the exam room with me, so it’s all from memory. Other people I know who have had MRIs have said it sounds pretty close! MY power is only mine because God is working through me. Until God is finished with me on planet Earth. I am going to do all I can to try and bring people closer together. For ME, Jesus IS that way. Not the militant version of Jesus so many people are trying to push these days, either.”
This album seems to focus on themes like alienation, the search for peace, and reconciliation with death. Can you share a little with us on how these themes have impacted your life?
“Some of this has been answered, but I will add that I feel people are far too focused on their political party today and not what their political party STANDS for. Politics and driving are very much alike because veering too far left or too far right will put you in a ditch. I do truly believe that some of my fellow Christians are more concerned about gun laws than protecting people. I know that some Christians have made comments about people like me as if we are trying to keep them from defending themselves or their families. I live in great concern over some of my neighbors more than I will ever fear another foreign terrorist attack.”
You seem to be sharing more of your feelings with these tracks. Was there catharsis for you in creating this?
“To an extent, every CQ release has some form of catharsis with it. I want people to understand that I know that I have fallen short of the glory of God. I can point fingers at other people and say “YOU, YOU, YOU”, but really it should be ME, ME, ME. I am never guiltless in all of this. I just pray my efforts are more helpful than UNhelpful.”