Boomkat Product Review:
Les Fleurs Dul Mal is the absorbingly grotesque sophomore album by pioneering artist, DJ and label owner Eric C. Burton aka Rabit, who, along with regular collaborators such as Chino Amobi (NON) and Elysia Crampton, is in part responsible for defining the contemporary conflux of avant club, folk and noise musics.
On his solo follow-up to Communion [Tri Angle, 2015], Rabit indulges his fascinations with psychedelic themes in an ambitious attempt to locate his sense of self amid increasingly chaotic environments. The result is a personal milestone for the artist; a riveting tableaux of hyper sensual texture, colour and melody forming a densely detailed and layered prism to best peer upon the abyss between reality and our shared hallucinations.
Mantled in reference to Baudelaire’s classic volume of poetry on decadence and eroticism, Rabit presents a metaphorical arena or “spielraum” - described by author Frances S. Connelly as “a vehicle for mediating the ever-collapsing boundaries of the unknown” - opening an im/possible noumenal no-man’s-land where his imagination can express itself unimpeded, without judgement.
In aesthetic and intent, Rabit boldly embraces the vacuum left by the late, great Coil; realising a genre-agnostic consolidation of folk, new age, drone and noise tropes transcended thru acousmatic processing and modular synthesis, in this case fittingly provided by erstwhile Coil member Drew McDowell. In the process he potentially triangulates Les Fleurs Dul Mal with records by fellow Coil fiends, Elysia Crampton’s Demon City and Chino Amobi’s Paradiso, who all essentially project bold, new links with Coil’s canon.
Unfolding in 12 movements like some future classical tragedy, Rabit gestures his sounds with a remarkable freedom of rhythmic meter and freehand strokes that belies its meticulous construction below the surface. Cecilia’s vocals and the sharp strings of opener Possessed suggest the spirit of Baudelaire’s text heard at street level, while the dissonant stress of Bleached World - a secret weapon ’til now - expresses a beautifully bittersweet anguish, and the recursive curdle of Ontological Graffiti catches in the throat with uncannily emotive effect. The Whole Bag locates his firmest dembow rhythms, but buried under collapsing sidereal pressure, and Cecelia’s return in closer Elevation perfectly emulates something like new age tristesse, which defines the record’s humanity in the face of such uncompromising synthetic sensations.