- Mon, 2011-05-16 10:42
Throughout his career Arnaud Rebotini has been interested in the creation of brutalist sonic architecture. First it was in the death metal bands of his youth, then the industrial beats of Black Strobe, and most recently in the abrasive blend of electro and techno that characterised his 2008 solo album Music Components. With that release held in particularly high regard by many in the dance world, fingers are crossed that the follow-up - Someone Gave Me Religion - will continue where it left off. But, as anyone familiar with Rebotini is aware, he isn’t one to shy away from reinvention.
Fortunately for fans of Music Components, Someone Gave Me Religion has indeed been cast in a roughly similar mould to its predecessor. As before, Rebotini has made the album using solely classic analogue gear, ensuring that the spirit of old-school electro and techno once more permeates the album thoroughly. Furthermore, the characteristically caustic sounds that he has previously crafted on these machines are once again in evidence. Lead single Personal Dictator is a case in point, its murky, bone-dry beat and sandpaper synths aggressive, oppressive and gothic. So too is All You Need Is Techno, the spluttering treble sounding like a manic internet dial-up tone, while the deep choral hums and chromatic synth runs add to the claustrophobic mood. Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses is similarly unrelenting, a hammer-blow rhythm all but drowned out by buzzing synths that repeatedly flair up angrily.
These three tracks, however, are stark moments in an otherwise bright album, albeit one that frequently threatens to descend into the shadowy depths of which we know Rebotini to be capable. Someone Gave Me Religion begins and ends with extensive, beatless epics – The First Thirteen Minutes Of Love and The Choir Of Dead Lovers – that see snatches of order rising out of swirling chaos. The former is particularly arresting, darting synths swarming and ricocheting off each other as deep chords shift like tectonic plates. There is a moment of deep calm around halfway through the song in which Rebotini reveals just how delicate his touch can be, but he doesn’t allow it to last for long, summoning the bubbling broil back up before too much time has passed.
The remaining tracks on the album are pumping cuts of classic-sounding electro. Another Time, Another Place teases us, taking five minutes of juddering bass and hand claps to reach a brief but beautiful climax, while Echoes furnishes a subtly driving groove with a Theremin-aping treble-line and sparse, minor-key chords. Who Gonna Play This Old Machine? is perhaps the most engrossing moment of all, its staccato piano chords buried in a mire of arpeggiating synths, with ringing notes hanging like lanterns in the dark above.
Someone Gave Me Religion filters the sounds of classic electro and techno through an enthralling range of textures, from disorientating soundscapes to batteries of industrial noise and moments of beautiful melody. Arnaud Rebotini blends these disparate moods masterfully, creating a seamless and compelling musical journey that displays brain as well as brawn.