[30 January 2009]
Once CHANDRA had toured their EP, it was decided that Chandra should be backed by other teenagers. So, with Diserio and Alexander in tow, the Chandra Dimension was born. The Chandra Dimension consisted of Chandra, a 12-year-old on keys,a 17-year-old on bass, and a 14-year-old on drums. The Chandra Dimension recorded an EP that was not released until last year when both the original CHANDRA EP and The Chandra Dimension EP were re-released as a single album by Cantor Records (you can listen to minute-long clips at Other Music)
The Chandra Dimension EP differs somewhat from the CHANDRA EP, but shares many of the first EP’s salient characteristics. Opener, “Get It Out of Your System”, begins energetically and seems more streamlined than the previous EP; trebly guitar is featured more prominently and Chandra’s voice is more commanding. Other than that there is still the dissonant-yet-melodic keys and dancey bass line backed by disco drums. The chorus is excellent with a vocal line that constantly changes emphases, spinning around and leaving the listener disoriented but satisfied. The live claps on this song add a level of childish excitement as they are weak-sounding and are obviously the product of children’s hands.
The third song, “Something”, follows in the same vein with interesting layers of instruments, a great bass line and more prominently featured guitar. Chandra’s voice on this shows mature detachment and defeatism. Though there is childishness in lines like “There’s nothing you can do about teachers”, there are startlingly precocious lines like “There’s nothing you can do about the evolution of the world / There’s nothing you can do about politics, it’s absurd” and “What about suicide? / Don’t you think we’ve tried? / It was a lie, you were right.” The punctuating keyboards and guitar drive home every line by, the now, 14-year-old Chandra.
Though Chandra’s youth makes these recordings that much more interesting, they stand alone as wonderful outsider disco compositions. The fact that the lyrics were written and sung by a 12-year-old adds a layer of interest to the story, but if you didn’t know it the fact probably would not cross your mind. A singular entity in the post-punk world, CHANDRA and the Chandra Dimension made NYC relics that stand alone in their composition and background story.
Chandra Oppenheim gave up music after the Chandra Dimension, and perhaps it was for the best; with only eight songs (and a couple of unreleased songs that will show up soon enough) there’s not a blemish on her record. Still, it gives rise to the question: If she was outdoing so many adults at 12, what would she have been doing at 20?