Angel by MASSIVE ATTACK is one of those songs that even if you are not a part of its scene, it has been so prevalent in the media that you have heard it. From a cover by SEPULTURA to featuring in movies like Snatch, Firewall and the 2004 remake of Flight of the Phoenix. If you’ve ever heard it and wished it was about five times longer the, new album by HIFIKLUB, MATT CAMERON (PEARL JAM, SOUNDGARDEN), REUBEN LEWIS and DAFFODIL is for you. Rupture is not rock in the traditional sense. You will not find screeching guitars here, nor will you find heavy drumming or anthemic choruses. Instead the band describe themselves as experimental. Their sound aligns them with a sound like ULVER’s Shadows of the Sun.
The piece has been split into six songs but the artists consider it to be one thing and so that’s how I’ll regard it. Part one, Sans Préavis builds slowly from the silence, a bass filled drone emerges almost imperceptible so as not to make too obvious an introduction. This is before the audience is teased with higher pitches and then distortion and delay. Building slightly, at a tentative pace. It then fades to nothing and part two, L’air d’un Vaincu begins. It’s here that more traditional notions of rhythm are introduced and almost ethereal vocals begin. It’s here to me that the similarities to Angel really become apparent, the music builds but Régis Laugier’s vocals do not increase in intensity, rather they feel disconnected. In some ways it feels rather like disassociation, the world is rushing around you and yet you don’t feel a part of it.
Navire de Sauvetage begins by recalling the pulsing rhythm that we experienced a moment ago before layering in a slow, melancholy trumpet. Almost evoking jazz, it lies below what you would expect and instead undulates and twists to keep the listener interested. Terrain Vague brings back the major motifs of this track before we dive into Le Temp Gagné which is minimalistic even by this album’s standards. A bubbling underneath and just enough backing but it is careful to not take away from the lonesome sound of the trumpet.
Then the piece is bookended by the sixth and final chapter: Cavale, a dark foreboding thing. Electronic blasts above static. On my first listen to it, I was struck by the idea that perhaps it might be wrong to think of it as a finale but instead, perhaps it is a plot hook? It builds as if to something new and then silence. Sadly, there’s no way to verify this until the evidence shows but I would be interested.
I really like this album but it’s not something that draws the ear in the same way as more commonplace music. There are no massive musical statements here and it benefits by treating it as a passive listening experience. One that you tune into rather than a definitive act of “I’m going to listen to this song”. It’s too complex and yet simple, it’s the noise in between the silences. It’s the wind on a quiet night and the silhouette of trees along the horizon and the noise of a nightclub through the walls. It exists in its own right but it excels in highlighting the contrast.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Rupture will be out this Friday via Electric Valley Records.
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