Active Child Rapor [EP]

[Vagrant; 2013]

Styles: light art, heavenly voices, R&B synthpop, 80s
Others: How To Dress Well, Antony Hegarty, Delays, Ultravox

Fiat lux: the contact of cornea and electromagnetic radiation, the necessary condition for vision, provides the deep structure for Pat Grossi (a.k.a Active Child)’s new EP, Rapor. The piece is named after his home studio:

The house is made up almost entirely of glass, designed by the architects Buff and Hensman as their personal refuge from the chaos of LA. Inside the studio you can feel the sun pouring through the skylights and the mountains wrapping around on all sides. They named it Rapor, Ra meaning sun and Por meaning house.

Rapor, the EP, is a cathedral of light (“Evening Ceremony”), where each moment is perfectly and precisely constructed — all pillar, no filler — while Grossi’s falsetto soars upward, marrying the devotional to apologetics, the heart to the head, warm sun to neon. Grossi’s harp work also speaks to the paradox of the architectural, a perfect flatland that inhabits three-dimensional space — glissades and struts, the geometric and the vibratory.

Gliding smoothly over synth washes, a real sense of pain is allowed to arise (“She Cut Me”) alongside pain’s transcendence. But the expression has hints of the clinical — light’s role as antiseptic and curative. From the tears of Ra — the Egyptian sun-god who became the supreme deity — were created humans, and thus sorrow too is fitting.

Speaking of tragedy, Ra corresponds to Zeus, who used Echo as a cover for his amorous intrigues, before her Narcissistic downfall. Here, Grossi’s own (Mikky) Ekko solo on “Subtle” may well prove divisive, introducing a more overt element of the hip-hop/R&B sensibility always present in Grossi’s work. Otherwise, Rapor doesn’t push any boundaries or break the speed of light, but it constructs its fragile, fervid, and elegant confections with laserlike precision. A sun god who won’t be overthrown or erased, a place of pillars — Heliopolis — there’s no reason to leave.

Links: Active Child - Vagrant

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