Aquarius Records - Akira Rabelais "Spellewauerynsherde"

08.07.05

The tongue-twistingly titled Snellewauerynsherde is another hauntingly beautiful record from the enigmatic electronic composer Akira Rabelais. As with his previous albums, Rabelais offers a labyrinth of elliptical allegories, subtle chance operations, and impressionistic romanticism as an accompaniment for his elegant sound constructions. Given the incredible amount of semantic engineering that went into this record, it is certainly possible that Rabelais deliberately arranged to have this album released at the same time as Bjork's Medula.

You see, the source for Snellewauerynsherde is a collection of traditional Icelandic accapella songs recorded in the late 1960s or early 1970s on Ampex tapes and then forgotten about. The first few tracks of Snellewauerynsherde present the raw recordings Icelandic songs, sanitized of their tape hiss and debris. The content may remain foreign to our ears, but the songs' existential sadness transcends any language barriers. When he actually processes these sources, he extracts a mournful etherialism that he stretches into a gracefully solemn minimalism that falls between Steven Stapleton's production of Current 93's A Little Menstrual Night Music, Eliane Radigue's evocative timbral compositions, and Arvo Part's late period chorale pieces.

Rabelais continues to distance himself from the clicks 'n' cuts electronica of his contemporaries and situate himself as an artist with a complex mythology, that given the right marketing climate, could be as important as Matthew Barney's.

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