Clown Core, also now known as one of the better acts coming from the swamp that is the cyber web; is a duo from Nevada that arose to some heights of fame during 2010 with their first self-titled record. Clown Core was 13 tracks over 13 minutes and following that theme, 10 years later comes Van. A 12 track, 17-minute long ride in a dusty 1997 Toyota Previa SC with nearly 200,000 miles.
What originally I thought to be just a meme for a quick laugh, Van is actually 17 minutes of some of the strongest electronic excrement piled into harsh distortion and saxophone playing from two clowns packed into a drivable studio. While they both handle the keys and screams, the percussion is a tool of both obliteration and support similar to a battering ram with white face paint and red lipstick. The saxophone is also in a similar vein where the harshness can cut like a switchblade, but also be smooth enough to ride through cascading waterfalls of sonic bliss.
Opening with “Flat Earth,” Clown Core almost immediately kicks the audience in the gut with this revving synth work and pounding 808 percussion. The saxophone in question is accompanied by bicycle horn honks acting like a laugh cue card to an audience at a live performance. So incredibly tremendous for scope and direction, but also feeling as if it was one giant pie to the face; Van is a bittersweet record.
With more sweet than bitter, the music here is passable for deadly progressions that some bands could only hope to achieve. Then, paired with the frightening shit storm that is clowns, Van is a fever dream. Especially on some of the cuts like “Song” or “Keyboard” that melt the face like wax over flame.
The primarily instrumental systems that Clown Core works with are punchy, have a great resonation behind them, and burn through faster than methane to the ozone. For a record that only has 12 tracks and an average run time of under a minute, there is an explosive amount of content packed in here. Almost like a hoarder of sound, when Clown Core reaches “Existence,” the layering and deeply wrapped sonics here are overpowering.
It is amazing that the windows of Van do not blow out and form a supernova where Clown Core seems to exist only in the darkest recesses of the fragile mind. Twisting almost infinitely through a maze of hard to pinpoint grooves, Clown Core can be booked for the next pandemic party where everything is simultaneously on fire.