You thought we were all kidding around?
Mick wrote that Paul Jebanasam’s Music For the Church of St. John the Baptist was “Doomy, dark slingshot drone in a wash basin, catapulting medieval balls of grit.” Commenter William chimed in with “Kind of like an orchestral Ben Frost.” Fluid Radio herself named it top of 2011, to a chorus of agreement. Topping a list that included Glimmer, The Quiet Divide and two Ravedeath releases was quite an accomplishment.
Jebanasam is UK-based composer and dubstep producer. Responsible for the Transformers 3 trailer music and the Moving Ninja catalog, he returns now with the solo debut Rites, a thing that seethes with such adrenal tension that not only should you avoid any heavy machinery, the heavy machinery should avoid you. The album is lightning-cracks-at-the-boots good, a work of art that somehow manages beauty and shadowcasting in equal doses. Rites is noisy, powerful, brooding, alive, and better than the St. John recording. That previous release may have been performed in the 14-century Bristol church, but it is the current release that rises to such aesthetic and psychological heights.
Compositions are unobtrusively titled Rites I through V, and tracks run anywhere from five to ten minutes. The spectrum is established in the opening two movements, by the sunbleached choral ambient of Rites I and the sinister, clamorous march of Rites II. It may be odd for an artist best known for his beats, but Jebanasam leaves the deepest mark when the processing lifts and acoustic instruments come into view. The shriek of strings and the thud of percussion closing Rites II is the first truly exhilarating moment of the album, and the cleaving string section of Rites III is the second (St. John featured viol, viola and violin, so there is no telling what real-wood equipment is squinting across the drones and textures and distance).
Rites IV is the longest track, clocking in at just over ten minutes with flashes of distorted guitar, the crack of a single drum, and a morose, cinematic melody. The album highlight is likely Rites III (for two different answers, ask again tomorrow then again the day after). Its reedy sadness and deranged horsehair resolution are remarkable, and scarring. Rites is available now in 12″ vinyl and digital formats, courtesy of Subtext Recordings.