Charles Barabé & Ratkiller
Avant​-​Garde Avorton Romantique / Transrational Suite

Who wins in an arm-wrestling match where both opponents, after struggling to a draw for several moments, suddenly begin to merge at the point of contact, roots sprouting from wrists, branches shooting from fingers, until the combatants fully fuse and become a single, beautiful, flowering tree? I think the spectators do, that’s who. They didn’t expect anything like this.

Nor do they expect the tendrils of the new plant to snake out and envelop them, and soon we’ve all become a forest, the collective spirit nullifying any sort of bloodlust we may have had at the outset of this match for a winner to emerge. Canadian experimental composer Charles Barabé and Ratkiller — a.k.a. Estonia’s Mihkel Kleis – once locked in that fierce battle of will and strength to see who had the gnarliest biceps, have tricked us all, embracing instead the democracy of the split release and allowing each one’s true qualities to shine. From their collaboration all our shortcomings are erased, and nature takes a new course. The birds of avant-garde experimentalism chirp like an electronic orchestra from the branches, their illustrious melodies an homage to Austrian composer Anton Webern. Meanwhile, a river winds through the trees, rippling like the circuits of a muted android church choir, its passage over rocks and rapids a suite bridging the concepts of rationality and irrationality.

The landscape is one. There is no push and no pull. We have fully compromised our individuality in deference to the whole. We are equals.

Barabé and Ratkiller were different, were separated by an ocean, but their shared love of the strange and unusual, the uncanny and the unknown, have propelled them together in single-minded harmony. They’ve transcended their ambition, their very ability to think along a linear path, and have conjured a pristine, vibrant, and delightfully weird world. They are now only separated by sides of a cassette tape, the arm-wrestling tournament each was certain they’d prevail over long forgotten, their bulging muscles hardened into cords of wood. Play forward, play in reverse, you’ll find total assent.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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