- Akira Rabelais "Caduceus"


Album Of The Week

Long awaited new album from the hugely influential Akira Rabelais, his first proper full-length since 2004's "Spellewauerynsherde", also for David Sylvian's Samadhisound imprint.* A new Akira Rabelais album is cause for considerable excitement around these parts, his small but perfectly formed catalogue of releases has created one of the most complete and consummate identities in electronic music.

On this long awaited new album 'Caduceus' the Texan-born artist returns to the guitar - an instrument he wielded during his early years on the Austin live scene, playing in industrial bands during the 1980s. Although processed guitar music has become something of a staple on the experimental electronic scene of late, 'Caduceus' sounds very different from other records in the field, taking on a far more radically abstract tone.

'Seduced By The Silence' introduces the record with an almost percussive, grinding sound that at times more closely resembles an annihilated tabla than a stringed instrument. More subtle, implicitly melodic emissions are to come, with the crumbling timbres of 'Then The Substanceless Blue' and the blissful cacophony of 'Where To Let Our Scars Fall In Love' representing early highlights.

Considering this album is derived from a single instrumental source, the dynamics are remarkably broad, ranging from the quiet AM radio-style lullabies of 'Comme Un Ange Enivré D'un Soleil Radieux' to the howling distortion surges of 'Night Dances Through Heaven's Black Amnesia'. In both cases there's a magical otherness at work that goes beyond the realms of electronic music's conventional cold logic, and holds the kind of mysterious appeal you'd associate with artists like Andrew McKenzie, Steven Stapleton and Andrew Liles. Cleaner sounds arise sporadically over the course of the record, with 'Surface Of Soft Steps, Violets Whisper' and 'On The Little In-Betweens' momentarily unshrouding the guitar to explore more conventional harmonic relationships, while 'In A Cadence Of Vanishing' reveals untreated acoustic guitar as it shifts through an ominously stationary chord sequence and a backdrop of crackling static jetisons flecks of melody.

Over the course of this magnificent hour-long work Rabelais manages to coax sounds out of his instrument, the like of which you just wouldn't encounter in the work of his peers: whether it be the peculiar flat-packed, concertina tones of 'As Fingers Trace Around The Rim Of A Colourless Sky' or the lost voices and radio wave interference of hushed closing piece 'A Door Opens Backwards' there's always something remarkable around the corner. Very highly recommended.

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