One of the drawbacks of being a visionary in popular music is that you usually have to deal with other people as you try to make your ideas understood.
Even the most talented folks sometimes have trouble finding worthy collaborators, and when they do, there isn't always a guarantee that they'll stick around.
If underground rock has ever produced an idea man, it's Ian Svenonius, and from the Nation of Ulysses in the '80s to Chain & the Gang in the 2010s, he's led a number of high concept rock bands, most of which experienced a fair amount of personnel turnover.
With Introduction to Escape-Ism, Svenonius has finally chosen to cut out the middleman: Instead of finding a new group of like-minded musicians, for this project he's chosen to go it alone, creating an amalgam of lo-fi sounds with the use of a low-tech drum machine, distorted guitar, found sounds inserted via cassette machine, and his own moody, sensually histrionic vocals.
With its no-frills approach, primitive sounds, and the reverb adorning Svenonius' vocals, the debut album from Escape-Ism, 2017's Introduction to Escape-Ism, suggests a distant cousin of Suicide, especially the howling primitivism of their 1977 debut.
Introduction to Escape-Ism is both literally and figuratively Ian Svenonius' One Man Show, where his musings about culture stand front and center, while the music provides a fitting but low-key backdrop.
Svenonius has long been one of the wittiest and most interesting thinkers in indie rock, and if Introduction to Escape-Ism lacks the punch of some of his band projects, this he is as purely himself as you could hope for, and hearing him work his songs over his own thrift store soundscapes is an engaging experience.
Would that every solo turn from an established artist had this many smarts and adventures in it.