Akira Rabelais - CXVI (2xLP)
Many years in the works, CXVI is Akira Rabelais's supernatural album of collaborations, featuring the singular composer in rapt dialogue with a wish list of peers including Harold Budd, Ben Frost, Karen Vogt (Heligoland), Geir Jenssen (Biosphere), Kassel Jaeger (François Bonnet), and Stephan Mathieu. Unfurling a quietly breathtaking, dreamlike sequence of events, CXVI blooms in the wake of Boomkat Editions' first-time vinyl pressings of Akira's seminal classics, 2001's Eisoptrophobia (BKEDIT 017LP) and 2004's Spellewauerynsherde (BKEDIT 015LP), introduced his rarified work to myriad, keen new ears, while also reminding longer terms fans of his nonpareil genius and alchemical style of composition. Set to be received as Akira's magnum opus, CXVIfinds the Hollywood-based composer challenging his usual working methods, pushing himself to refresh binds with long-term collaborators, and also coaxing the recorded debuts of his friend Mélanie Skribiane and filmmaker/photographer Bogdan D. Smith. The result of their time-lapsed endeavors is a record of divine subtlety and poignant patience, rendered with a mirage-like appeal. Opener "Which Alters When It Alteration Finds", beautifully segues from a prickly bouquet of keys and lovebite-distortion penned with Ben Frost to a reverberant, spine-freezing piano coda from Harold Budd, before "Which Alters When It Alteration Finds" smoke-ily gives way to the sylvan shadow play of the album's masterful centerpiece, "Star To Every Wandring Worth's Unknown", where Mélanie Skribiane reads from Max Ernst's La Femme 100 Têtes against an exquisite veil of strings and keys realized by Akira with the GRM's Kassel Jaeger. The third part of the album only becomes more sparse and isolationist, as Karen Vogt's plainsong gives way to the tremulous, icy timbres of Akira's processed guitar strokes, originally written for Cedrick Corliolis's Tokyo Platform soundtrack, before the final side of "If Error And Upon Me Proved" finds Akira pushing Geir Jenssen's synths into the red, emphasizing a romantic soreness that turns into crushing noise, before Bogdan Smith's whispered vocal melts into an ancient, arcane air inscribed to 78rpm vinyl by Stephan Mathieu and then sweetened, re-incorporated by Akira as the album's stunning closing passage. Riddled with bedeviling detail and utterly timeless in its scope, CXVI is a disorientating opus you'll want to undergo over and again. Photography by Bogdan D. Smith Mastered by Stephan Mathieu; Cut at Dubplates & Mastering. Gatefold sleeve.