Boomkat Product Review:
Rabit presents “Life After Death,” his third full-length album. The album was recorded in home studios in Houston, Texas and Paris, France, and is the culmination of two years’ worth of experiments in various forms of synthesis.
Like last year's “Les Fleurs Du Mal,” the new album marks a further advancement in the development of his own distinct musical language. Realized through genre-free expressions that pull inspiration from Surrealist art to DJ Screw, Enigma, and Japanese Ambient artists like Hiroshi Yoshimura, the album has an exploratory, transcendental core. The project's artwork - a cut up mandala– can be seen as a reflection of the artist's kaleidoscopic approach to this pivotal new album. This is a transformative moment not only for the creator but for the listener as well.
The idea that genres have become a noose is clear upon the first listen – Rabit notes “the probing and revisiting of genres in electronic music felt fetishistic and limiting and wasn’t the best way for me to communicate.” Instead, his approach reflects a wider, broader sound field – these aren’t simply tracks, they are sonic worlds of feeling to bathe in. Rabit adds, “Exploring sound is alchemy if you want it to be, but I would be wary to explain these aspects of my work because there’s a raw understated quality to the record that I want to respect. I think the occult term is interesting because I don’t hear this explored in music in ways that I find relevant. I leave it to time and the intelligent listener to make up their own meaning.”
Despite what it may sound like on the surface, this new album is not a Zen-like ambient record.
“Life After Death” is in some ways the sonic equivalent of an early Alejandro Jodorowsky movie – or maybe even like being guided through a tarot reading by Jodorowsky himself. “Life After Death” is alchemical, mysterious and utterly captivating – yet also futuristic. Rabit is removed further from his early work for labels like Tri Angle by building himself a lighter more dreamlike universe. "Surrealism is still around in different ways – it is a feeling. I think there’s something trying to communicate itself under the surface in the tools we all use to express. It's important to me to let that speak. This new way I create is more satisfying than ever before because there are layers and feelings that reveal themselves over time. "
When pushed, Rabit notes it is a synth record but then clarifies “I think I say ‘synth’ record because the strand running through it is this element as a compositional tool.” In fact, there are few precedents for a record like this – Coil, aspects of the work of GRM composers, but Rabit’s sound is more cinematic. If Stanley Kubrick were still making films, he may have used this music. But with all this said, oddly enough, “Life After Death” still sounds pop – psychedelic yet accessible. Pop for the underworld, or what lies beneath the surface.