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Rabit
Communion Bob Cluness , October 27th, 2015 19:24

A couple of months ago we received a transmission from the future, via producer Rabit and multimedia artist Chino Amobi. Titled The Great Game: Freedom From Mental Poisoning, it was a 40 minute screed of resistance from a future world where a capitalist china-syndrome on a global scale is unleashed upon human culture and corporeality. Its violent digital sounds, militarised outbursts of noise, religious symbolism, and a female disembodied voice inform us that humanity is part of a "Great Game" where every exchange has become capitalised, intensified and replicated to the point of toxicity while "geopolitical explosions" and "Chinese drones spotted in Nigeria" tells of deregulated, never-ending cultural and economic warfare being waged upon us. It is a sermon of inhuman horror, that we are merely the meat puppets to capital, the "man in the dead machine". Rabit and Amobi implore us to take back what was ours to begin with, the female voice announcing at the end that "many of you have never experienced freedom in your lives".

That The Great Game alone was enough to warp anyone's worldview from repeated listening should be enough, but Rabit himself isn't finished. With the dust barely settled, he now brings us Communion, his debut album on Tri Angle Records. Rabit has dabbled in the pools of synthetic cyberculture before with his Terminator and Sun Dragon EPs, but here he goes all in, willing to disengage from the messy simulations and identities that our society affords us, the result daring to imagine a new mode of sensation and embodiment.

Like The Great Game, Communion is a short sharp shock of digital sound, a soundtrack-as-war-journal to a world that hasn't happened yet but is seeping into our consciousness on a daily basis. It merges machinic excess and mystical pathways to generate a cyborg ecology. Esoteric hyperstitions infect the technosphere, taken up as gospel by AI in their quest to bring the unknowable "outside", screaming into our own world; Skynet as gnostic cybermissionary if you will. While Rodin's The Gates Of Hell provided the aesthetic reference base code in The Great Game, Communion brings up a distinctly cyberpunk dystopia as lovecraftian horror; neural networks built along Kaballah architectural maps, enochian data clouds powered by lay lines, Nanobot swarms converting base matter into self-replicating bacterial computers. Be infected by the inhuman and you too can see forever.

Opening track 'Advent' lays out this new mystical intimacy ushering in queer, perturbing sonic intensities. Morbid ambient hums are disturbed by percussion IEDs that warp the physics of its surrounding area. The heft and violence they bring to your synapses is juddering, almost overwhelming at first. Tracks such as 'Fetal' and 'Artemi' take the discarded urban spaces of 90s jungle, and lays them out in an MMORPG killing field-as-playground where economic hunter-killer avatars as kali-kommandos, wage cyber warfare with feral glee. In the past, if you wanted create the sound and violence of war and the industrial state à la Test Dept and Einstürzende Neubauten, then you had to spend physical effort in tearing apart actual metal with tools and machines. Not anymore. Today's warfare, whether for fun or for capital resources, is waged from the comfort of an office or even your armchair thousands of miles away. The soundtrack from such Command And Conquer style mecha-incursions – gunfire, the whooshing of aircraft, buzzing helicopters, cordite, the clinking of spent shells, – provide much Communion's militaristic groove over drifting melody lines.

As a producer often on the "outside" of the genre landscape of grime music, in terms of geography and sexuality (Rabit resides in Houston, Texas and is openly gay), Communion sees Rabit openly explore the outer fringes of the sound. He cracks open the genre's brooding masculinity with brutal, yet gleaming and exotic sounds, letting its libidinal qualities spill out, and leaving in its place a sonic world full of vertiginous, disorientating spaces. This desire for a new aesthetic, to subvert and break free from our social constructs can be heard in tracks like 'Trapped In This Body' and 'Flesh Covers The Bone', where the twitching,  lumpy tissue of the human is hooked up to electrodes and arrays while a ghostly maternal monologue quotes Buowski's Alone With Everybody. The meat puppet screams into existence as technic death drive is pumped into it, its beat pulsing in the background as it arises, new and transformed.

For some Communion will be too discordant, too warlike, too brutal to their sensibilities, a direct threat to their notions of what is "beautiful" in their world. But the chrome plated harshness of Rabit's music brings out a different form of joy, a pleasure that comes from catharsis, frustration, and alienation - which was one of the main aesthetics of industrial music to begin with. Alongside recent releases such as Visionist's Safe and the releases from the Non label/collective (of which Chino Amobi is a member), Communion is mapping out new pathways over old aesthetic terrain, asking us to ponder and explore new topologies, new realms of affect beyond what our cultures have ascribed to us. It understands that our journey to a posthuman non-carbon simulacrum is already being undertaken, and perhaps it should be a one welcomed with open arms.  

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