Published Oct 03, 2018Leaving the genre explorations of previous releases behind, with his latest full-length, Houston-based producer-composer Rabit has rendered a work formed purely through abstract synthesis and collage, gobbling up a heavy dose of Jodorowskian spiritualism on the way.
As a result, the compositional design of Life After Death is both chaotic and conceptual. As it progresses through a dozen brief but meticulously assembled collages, it's frequently difficult not to think of calendars and clocks, and there is a cyclical implication to this work that satisfies the album's titular rebirth, but the warbling, disorienting cast of Rabit's juxtapositions give it more of an impression of a smashed clock face than a linear passage through time, shards of light mixed in with the dark, multiple seasonal shifts sometimes felt within intervals shorter than two minutes.
Thematically, the record's tracks grapple with social collapse, desolation and regeneration on interpersonal, intercultural, and intergenerational levels, careening through rocky scenes of unrest while sampling and manipulating found materials to fashion questions about the methods and means with which we are passing through time.
"Spiral" hypnotizes with a minimalist rhythm piece before floating spoken word over a trip-hop scene: "Rebirth through stoning. Rebirth through ruins. Rebirth through hunger. Rebirth through death. Rebirth through rats, epidemics. Reducing human living to animal level. Will there be new Einsteins, Toscaninis, Marie Curies, Sun Yat-Sens? Or new Hitlers?"
"Blue Death" literally declares the decline of civilization, and then a deconstructed string section writhes while a post-apocalyptic scene unfolds in the background. "Daydream" shimmers with a dazzling landscape of digital notifications, and young children chatter enthusiastically under a mechanical whir and the soft touch of an acoustic piano before a dusty voice signs the program off on "12": "Children. The human raw material of each shattered nation's tomorrow."
Psychedelically haunted and spiritually free, Life After Death isn't just an escape from the world we're confined to, it's a multi-dimensional confrontation, compositions conversational as they are challenging. (Halcyon Veil)