“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.” These words, quoted by the artist, are taken from the “Tears in Rain” soliloquy, the final monologue of the replicant Roy Batty in the film Blade Runner; this album takes its title from that soliloquy.
Raszia comes from Valencia in Spain, and has three releases to date on the Zimmer Records netlabel. The label has been around since 2005, and one thing immediately noticeable about all their releases is the highly original black and white cover artwork, painted by Nikola Janeski.
The opening track, “Ghost Soul”, kicks into a wonderful minimal techno groove. Layer upon layer gets added; stabs almost sound like voices. We’re suddenly into a Detroit-like slab of grinding groove, with a deep bassline and driving percussion. This is totally hypnotic, the stabs just a little ahead of everything else, creating a fabulous sense of urgency. We’re almost somewhere between techno and house, but then layers drop, and we revert to a train-like techno beat which seems like it will stop for nothing. The production is absolutely top-notch, and this would be a firecracker of a floor-filler pretty much anywhere.
“Tannhäuser Gate” takes a different slant. Pounding bass is counterbalanced by bells and long, resonant metallic clangs. Little synth sounds perch atop the music. Again, there’s a fantastic sense of urgency here, as we’re dragged endlessly forward, whether we want to be or not; I know I do. The accent moves from every fourth beat to every second beat, just to build the excitement even further. This is sterling stuff.
As we move toward the album’s halfway point, “Echoes” arrives, and pummels and blasts its way along like a machine barely in control. Scattergun percussion echoes and scythes left and right, cutting and flaying with the relentless precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. High, keening notes repeat above an incredible build-up of percussion. Around six minutes in, it sounds like we may just be let off the hook, but we’re not; this thing has us in its jaws and will not let go. A separate counter-rhythm moves in and finally pulls the track to an exhausting close.
“Defective” begins as its title suggests. It sounds like we may be in for something a little different. Snatches of high-pitched sound pile up over midrange tones. Soon, however, a bass kick signals that we’re heading into firm techno territory once again. A shuffling gait pushes the pounding rhythm further forward. This is my least favourite track on the album, but it’s brilliantly executed, and it’s still very, very good indeed.
We close with “Waves From the Future”, which starts with a kick drum and short keyboard stabs. A mid-range synth appears and moves the music forward as the filter slowly opens and closes. The overall sound of the track is shaped by faster sweeps, moving up the range shortly before the synth mutates into percussion rather than lead. A traintrack-like “click-click, click-click” confuses the senses even further as the listener grapples with two different rhythms overlaying one another. Resolution: the newer beat disappears, and we’re back on solid ground. Think Detroit at its utter best, and you’ll know what to expect on this final cut.
Verdict? I loved it.
Raszia – Echoes
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