Boomkat Product Review:
Akira Rabelais' small but perfectly formed catalogue of releases has created one of the most complete and consummate identities in electronic music. On this album for David Sylvian's Samadhisound imprint, 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 became something of a staple on the experimental electronic scene of the earlu 00's, '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 resembles an annihilated tabla than a stringed instrument. More subtle, implicitly melodic episodes follow, 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 Steven Stapleton and Andrew Liles. 'Surface Of Soft Steps, Violets Whisper' and 'On The Little In-Betweens' momentarily unshroud the guitar to reveal more conventional harmonic structures, while 'In A Cadence Of Vanishing' spies untreated acoustic guitar as it shifts through an ominously stationary chord sequence and a backdrop of static jetisons tarces of melody.
A remarkable, deeply absorbing album from a modern great.