April 22, 2008

Akira Rabelais - Spellewauerynsherde

Artist: Akira Rabelais
Album: Spellewauerynsherde
Year: 2004
Country:United States

Upon hearing only the first track of this haunting album I realised that this is a sound completely different from all I heard before.
A recording like this one it seems to have arrived from another dimension of sound, one so pure and mysteriously evocative it elevates the consciousness, as if reminding the listener of another existence.Unique!!

Akira Rabelais
- Los Angeles based composer and author, was born on his mothers birthday and grew up on a racehorse ranch in South Texas. First instrument; metal plates strung along a barbed wire fence shot with a bb gun. Rabelais bridges classical romanticism and magical realism with his music and software. He has collaborated with various musicians including Björk, David Sylvian, Harold Budd, Nobukazu Takemura, Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers.

"Akira Rabelais, whose very name evokes images of Renaissance alchemists poring over cryptic texts of mysterious rituals and angelic evocations, uses home-built software with very Borgesian names like "Evisceration Reanimation, Morphological Disintegration," "the Lobster Quadrille" and "Argeïphontes Lyre" to give ethereal life to faded voices lifted from dusty reel-to-reel tapes.

While performing archive work on old Ampex tapes, Rabelais discovered a treasure of Icelandic accapella ballads performed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Seduced by the haunting heartbreak of these voices, he embarked on an ambitious project to give these faded and dying voices new life. The result is Spellewauerynsherde, a record of ghostly voices that hover on the periphery of thought and perception.
Some of the voices are treated and some are presented in their rarified and naked state. The lengthy track titles hint at other mysteries (and may only be intended as archival notes to be deciphered by Rabelais himself), but a title like "1559 W. Cuningham Cosmogr. Glasse 125 Within which draw an other Circle, a finger bredth distant." will take you longer to say than to listen to its 44 seconds of unadulterated lamentation. "1390 Gower Conf. II. 20 I can noght thanne unethes spelle that I wende altherbest have rad." becomes a duet, the soloist's lament rising above a mist of transparent voices as if her accompaniment is nothing more than the looped echo of her own voice (in

RabelaSpellewauerynsherdeis-speak this would be the result of a "time domain mutation").
The centerpiece of Spellewauerynsherde is the 21-minute "1483 Caxton Golden Leg. 208 b/2 He put not away the wodenes of his flessh with a sherde or shelle." The voices become insubstantial specters, ghostly choirs drifting back and forth across an endless featureless landscape. There is no fixed point, no anchor, and we are set adrift in a sea of harmonic tonalities, flooded with the elongated purity of these simple songs. There is an organic drift to these voices as if the Collective Unconscious has embarked on an iterative exploration of the infinite possibilities of tone and timbre.

Spellewauerynsherde is a record which exists outside of time, a collection of plainchants rescued from medieval obscurity by the pristine digitization of the 21st century and transformed into a ephemeral brume of sublime inflections. Highly recommended."


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