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Rockets, Unto the Edges of Edges

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Album Review

Though Rockets, Unto the Edges of Edges has all the digital collage experimentalism of Robin Rimbaud's earlier works and features plenty of TV and radio samples, it's easily Rimbaud's most accessible, emotional work so far. Rimbaud seems less concerned here with warped electronics and more interested in urgent atmosphere, both organic and immediate. Opener "Sans Soleil" features what might be Rimbaud's first attempt at vocals. His pensive hum sits delicately over the gentle strumming of Michael Gira's acoustic guitar while digital ambience skips underneath. The track is certainly minimalist, but what comes later in the album could hardly be called the same, as epic, tribal rhythms flare amid clanging ominous beats in the film score-like and Bernard Herrmann-esque "Through Your Window." "The Last European" is similarly massive in form and function, with brutally stretched beats mingling with keyboard notes extended into bass sounds, making for a "Tubular Bells" caliber, mad mind blast. Patricia Rozario's fragile soprano gives an airy, bird-like prettiness to "Anna Livia Plurabelle," her voice wafting gracefully over strings (featured prominently throughout) and piano tinkerings. There's also accessibility in "Yellow Plains Under White Hot Blue Sky," which bares some resemblance to Massive Attack's "Inertia Creeps" and "Pietas Illulia" could be mistaken for a Pet Shop Boys experiment. Rimbaud has obviously embraced melody and emotions beyond his usual mainstays of fear and menace. Rockets, Unto the Edges of Edges is a mature, masterfully crafted musical manipulation that's alternately quite touching and relentlessly forceful.


Born: 06 May 1964 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Battersea-based ambient composer Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, took his curious pseudonym from his compositional tool of choice: the cellphone scanner. He quickly earned a reputation as a boundary-pushing experimentalist, wedding scanned vocal samples with sparse electronics and other textural elements that underscored the strain and isolation associated with modern telecommunications technology. Though Rimbaud worked increasingly toward other, more musical compositional devices, his first several...
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