Zachery Allan Starkey is no stranger to political irony, which makes XXX, the second single and video off his forthcoming album FEAR CITY, all the more poignant during this period of forced isolation and quarantine.

The new track, composed, performed and produced by Starkey, is a “symphonic techno odyssey that plunges the listener deep into the pure hedonistic ecstasy of New York City nightlife.”

Starkey’s previous FEAR CITY single, NO SECURITY,  focused on the political and economic chaos and fear consuming the world in 2020. XXX, filmed in the seedy sex districts of Manhattan and late night Brooklyn and expertly directed by William Murray, depicts marginalized, disadvantaged, depressed, overworked, and economically struggling people escaping the present dystopian nightmare to find freedom, expression, and pleasure on the dance floor. The XXX of the title is not only a reference to sex and recreational drugs, it is also signifying the excitement of the unknown.

Taking the title from a 1970’s nickname for New York City, Starkey’s FEAR CITY is an album firmly about the present and looking towards an increasingly dystopian future. The depth of Starkey’s vision and songwriting for this project has resulted in new musical contributions from Bernard Sumner. XXX is released by new Brooklyn based label DEATH TRIP NYC. Starkey also recorded FEAR CITY entirely in Brooklyn, working with noted engineer Abe Seiferth (LCD Soundsystem, Ornette Coleman, Yeasayer).

Photo: William Murray

The pounding drums and percussion, inspired by the NYC subway system, serve as a strange nod to the empty cars and persistent stench of bleach. Starkey has created a dynamic club track for this new 21st century dystopia that blends the essences of Giorgio Moroder and Patrick Crowley with a bit of Logan’s Run and Blade Runner thrown in there.

Starkey says: “XXX is my musical synthesis of a journey I have made literally hundreds of times, finding escape and release from the struggles of daily life on the dance floor. It’s a song for both my journey and the journey I’ve seen many others make in the safety offered by nightlife spaces. XXX is about celebrating sex, pleasure, and freedom. Musically, XXX is my attempt to marry my love of both Techno and symphonic music.”

With clubs and bars abruptly shuttering for weeks across the nation, and people sequestering themselves from spontaneous contagion, the sexy notion of sweaty entwined bodies, white lines, and pulsing music already has the eerie feeling of wistful nostalgia. As of this moment, the notion of any physical contact has taken on a sinister vibe of thee Grim Reaper Himself. Just as AIDS signaled the end of the hedonistic era of Studio 54 and the Mudd Club, XXX in this emerging context suddenly invokes a blurring memory of a fading, sexier New York. (Indeed, at least one of the seedy establishments featured in the video has already sailed off to Valhalla.)

Remember these times, for it is truly the end of an era, sealed with an XXX.

Watch it now:

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