Quarter Turns Over A Living Line

Around a decade ago – at jungle nights curated by the infamous Valve Soundsystem – lone sub tones would be played over the stack at immense volume once the lights had come up, just as spangled ravers were wending their way to the doors: a jarring aural send off that had a visibly disquieting effect on people, particularly those well ‘refreshed’.

To feel those bowel-rupturing frequencies – that had scant minutes before formed a warm cocoon – anew, only in stark white light, minus DJ, MC or any traditional rave signifiers other than raw, nerve-jangling paranoia, rendered the senses vulnerable. It felt like the ghost of jungle past, rushing for its night bus.

Listening to Raime’s assured debut LP Quarter Turns Over A Living Line at serious volume produces a remarkably similar sensation. The tracks are run through with a barren strangeness, each element sitting so far apart that one’s attention is drawn to the cogs of time itself. Having so expertly connected the brooding linear synapse between post punk, industrial, jungle and techno on their previous EPs and 12”s, this record continues apace into ever darker and transcendent spaces.

Most tracks pivot around a powerfully sluggish meter – cavernous echo, as if dragging some awesomely heavy load, a sable hypnotic chug. The music is afforded stark weight, hinting all the time at the pair’s record collection without once resorting to obvious cut and paste. Indeed, this record differs somewhat from past EPs and 12”s in its increased use of live instrumentation, rather than their previous intricately layered sampling.

For all its low-lit pace, this is no ‘headphones album’, however. Raime records should be played loudly. The physical presence and threat only really becoming apparent at full whack. Take ‘Exist In the Repeat of Practice’ – stuttering malevolence, a catatonic military tattoo on slow advance.

However, not all is quite as bleak. ‘Soil And Colts’ is rather camp. Thunderous kicks, murderously tuned bass knolls, something wicked this way comes… But it also feels a little like Raime may be poking mild fun at their pitch-black aural identity with these overtly mauve Hammer Horror theatrics. Close your eyes and you can picture Vincent Price going in, fangs first.

‘Your Cast Will Tire’ is a sprightlier affair, utilising tremulous guitar snippets, scraping string samples and a dirge like rhythmic pulse. There is a gloriously elemental feeling of final judgement about the thing – procession, epiphany, and deliverance with feedback squalls casting a final handful of mud into the pit.

Quarter Turns Over A Living Line is an album imbued with a sickly urgency, a slow journey inwards. Imagine awakening after fitful slumber at the last tube stop, only to find yourself in a long abandoned station, the fetid winds of the hardcore continuum passing you by, leaving only palpable threat and lonely unease. Raime are past masters of sombre carnage, and this here is their moment.

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