Chameleon Technology is Max Histrionic’s Los Angeles-based experimental rock project. Max puts his musical genius to the test in this latest release, an ambitious EP titled Blank Canvas. The album is a conglomeration of Max’s impeccable guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, assembled into five tracks that, when it’s over, leave you with the same feeling you get when your best friend eats the last cookie.
Opening with “No Safe Word”, the album assaults your eardrums like icy water assaults your perfect cannonball. Shocking but satisfying. The bassline is faster than I could ever play, even if I were to train eight hours a day locked in a room plastered with the glossy images of Flea, Victor Wooten, and Jaco Pastorius for encouragement. The bass has a “Welcome to Paradise” thing going on, while the vocals, delivered in a screamogram over a guitar-drum combo as voluptuous as the piston-connecting rod combo of an 1199 Panigale. The vocals in “Serin’s Vending” stretch out and get comfortable, as the drums, steady like a junkie trembling in the waiting room, hurtle the song ahead through space and time. As I revel in the instrumental around the one minute mark, I wonder how much Red Bull Max drinks. Or maybe he’s a Rock Star kind of guy. A friendly guitar bounds up to you and licks you in the face before clamping onto your ears and pulling you along with the rest of “Lifestyle Science”. Vocals are smooth and put the “alternative” in alternative rock. This is a song you can – and should – dance to. Max contemplates how his past has brought about his present, and how it might influence his future. The introspection finds the ideal foil in drums like a speed bag and guitar like a child who has just ingested $3 worth of Pixy Stix. “I’ll take the world on,” sings Max after testing, analyzing, and engineering his life to better suit his soul’s itinerary.
The vocals in “Self Repair” would be just as comfortable on a swing album as a rock album. Max produces a powerful warble reminiscent of a Tragic Kingdom-era Gwen Stefani. (Check out the interarytenoids on that guy!) “Self repair, I’ve been this way too long,” laments Max. Ultimately, he’s “searching for new ways to engage.” Aren’t we all in this world that is oversaturated with social media, where people have forgotten how to relate to one another, how to engage in critical thinking, and how to communicate without relying on emojis? :/
Under the direction of Exit House Films, Max made a video for the title track, the final song of the album. The video features a woman in white, her face streaked with mascara (somehow not helping to sell the mascara that YouTube marketed to me before getting to the video) as she is directed through the world by a mysterious man in black. Scattered throughout the video are images of a band of multiple Maxes playing the song. The song is of the ilk that confuses parents with its loud sound while at the same time, inspiring confused fourteen-year-olds with contemplatively tolerant lyrics and the same loud sound. “Blank Canvas” brings to mind black and white checked Vans and romps on the west coast, the feeling of a sunset and a tongue burnt the day before on hot pho.
As an album, Blank Canvas is an ephemeral escape from everything that is worth escaping. With this release, Chameleon Technology has created something magical, and has won a new fan. I encourage you to check out Chameleon Technology, especially if you like loud. There just might be a space for Blank Canvas in your music library.