Monday, August 19, 2013

Akira Rabelais

Fragmentary seems like the perfect introduction word to Los Angeles based musician Akira Rabelais.  Either that or innovative.
His approach is not something that easily be pinned down, and there are multiple examples of this.  Perhaps the most telling part of this story is that this is a man that created his own computer program with which to filter and modify the music that he plays.
His creation of his musical program the Argeïphontes Lyre, was the beginning to his 7 releases, which span everything from field recording to glitch noise.  His approach is normally one of producing the sounds and then running them through his program which alters it via filtering, re-combinations, and morphologies.  It's a high tech way of adding a computer touch to everything, as usually the program will decide on its own what to do to the sound he made.
He tends to take an ambient, quiet approach as seen in much of his music.  Being a musician in almost the classical sense, he composes for piano and guitar, as well as cultivating ideas in the IDM/electronic genre.

 His first release, "Elongated Pentagonal Pyramid", was very much an electronic and abrasive approach, with a few slower and calming tracks to the release.  It was released by himself at first before picking up attention and being re-released.  "Eisoptrophobia" and "...Benediction, Draw" followed, being piano and guitar based albums, respectively.
"Spellewauerynsherde" was the first time it was truly clear exactly what his program was capable of.  Rabelais took Icelandic choir songs that he found, reworked them, and filtered them through his program.  What came out is a mutant, unexpected, and slightly haunted sounding release full of bizarre voices echoing and floating around, and soothing drones of voice tonality.
To compare it to anything else, one would have to draw a comparison to something that had been damaged, like the works of William Basinski, which were constantly in a state of flux despite being at its core, repetitive.
Rabelais took a foray into field recording with "AM Station" and "Hollywood", which I must admit I didn't enjoy, as I don't really listen to field recordings.  So, next!

"Caduceus" came in 2010 - and this is where shit got serious.  Immediately it hits that this is not the slower, ambient, and field recordings that had preceded it.  This took a turn back towards his first release, "Elongated", except that the noises in this were not computer produced, but guitar produced.  He played stuff on a guitar, filtered it through his many programs filters, and emerged out an loud and disturbing piece of music.  It is groundbreaking to say the least.

He has since vanished from the music scene, I cannot find any information about him since then, so I don't know if we can anticipate another release or not.  His website is another separate enigma, which you can find a lot of information on, if you're willing to dig through its many, many pages.

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