Boomkat Product Review:
Electro-pop pioneer Bruce Haack’s bonkers, way ahead of-its-time 1974 album is placed back in circulation on vinyl for first time in 40 years
Before Kraftwerk went electronic, or YMO had even formed, Bruce Haack had been making funky, weird, deeply charming electro-pop in Canada for years. 1974’s wonderfully fruity, dippy ‘Captain Entropy’ is an ideal case in point; pairing bubbling machine rhythms and tape loops with vocoder and playful arps in one of the first examples of a template that has come to dominate modern music. By the point of its release he had already freaked the little ‘uns with his late ‘60s couplet of electronic records for children, and had born a scheme for space rock with ‘The Electric Lucifer’, but ‘Captain Entropy’ was the one where he really firmed up his ideas into a clear, if long overlooked, precedent for future electronic music.
While still connected to forms of psych rock as much as his string of children’s music by his inclusion of vocal narration, the music on ‘Captain Entropy’ patently sows the seeds for so much more. As well as the bigger reference points, we can hear parallels in Haack’s music with the earliest disco and soundtrack work of Patrick Cowley and even Ken Nordine records or the experiments of Joe Meek, all peppered into the likes of his sleazy sci-fi disco opener ‘Captain Entropy’ and thru the tart synth goop of ‘Jam’. There’s a wild prototype of electro honky tonk in ‘Army Ants in Your Pants’, and like Joe Meek literally envisioning the future on ‘Music’, with fleapit porn cinema soundtrack styles in ‘Walking Eagle’ and an absolute gem in the 10 minute jazz loop jam ‘1973’ that sounds like ‘Arp Art’-era Elias Tanenbaum meets Carl Stone at Shake’s gaff.