Rabit Baptizm [EP]

[Tri Angle; 2015]

Styles: experimental club, instrumental grime
Others: Lotic, M.E.S.H., Visionist, Mumdance

“The continuum of energy is like the serpent in the Garden of Eden… This is the raw voltage of transformation. The whole of space explodes with its wild capacity for adaptation. It manifests all energetic frequencies as well as the capacity to experience them.”

As David Chaim Smith writes in his essay A Silence that Speaks, “Space is always free of containment,” so it’s instinctive that the architecture of space in Rabit’s music is just as compelling as the sounds, which appear ripped from silence itself. On “Bloody Eye,” Baptizm’s standout track (prematurely immortalized in a shattering edit by Why Be and Sami Baha), an intricate composition of tearing snares and reversed cymbals are interspersed with bursts of gunfire.

But for me, Baptizm can be appreciated by listening to the engulfing space as much as the sonic distractions themselves. It’s an approach to listening illustrated by Smith using pieces by John Cage, Alvin Lucier, La Monte Young, and Charmagne Palestine as medium, and while on the immediate surface it might sound distant, there’s a ritualistic quality shared by Rabit’s music and those of these composers. This is certainly not perfunctory club music; there’s an underlying weight on Baptizm bearably related to the title’s implicit suggestion: to deliver from sin or evil.

The elements on Baptizm are exposed and fracturable, yet at the same time, this nakedness turns over a staunch incapacity for restraint. In fact, the abundance of space epitomizes vulnerability as substance, something that resonates with Rabit’s background, growing up gay within the confines of the Catholic church. In other respects, there’s an ambiguous experimentalism that positions him close to Janus affiliates Lotic and M.E.S.H. and seems to be at the core of Tri Angle Records’s latest direction (see Lotic’s Heterocetera). The music is otherwise compatible with the recent wave of instrumental grime represented, for example, by Visionist, Mumdance, and London’s Goon Club Allstars collective.

However, Rabit’s music is more definitively influenced elsewhere. This was exhibited in his mix for Electronic Explorations, which connected Coil, Rene Hell, and Amnesia Scanner by way of an all-out saturated Whitney Houston introduction. Detached from grime’s first wave, firsthand, there is no indebtedness for Rabit; rather the genre is used on Baptizm as a vehicle to tunnel a rawness that can be found in diverse sources.

Links: Tri Angle

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