Akira Rabelais – Caduceus


The Samadhisound label, founded and curated by David Sylvian, simultaneously released three impressive titles. Together they present a landmark of the current experimental/electronic/ improv scene.
Be prepared: none of these albums are ‘easy listening’ music – in fact, a lot of this music wouldn’t even be considered ‘ambient’.


If I would compile a list of all time favourite albums, Akira Rabelais’ Spellewauerynsherde (also released on Samadhisound) would definitely end up in the highest regions.
Thus, expectations were mile-high when SamadhiSound announced the release of a new Rabelais album called Caduceus.

But Rabelais is not someone to repeat a succesfull formula twice.
Though the process of creating the music may be similar (using the Argeïphontes Lyre software he created himself), the resulting sounds on Caduceus is remarkably different from Spelle….

On first listens, judging Caduceus in relation to Spellewauerynsherde, I found it hard to grasp what Akira Rabelais was trying to achieve here. The liner notes did not really help: “Time occupied by the same nature in mind, symbolism or a thing, a radiance of observation, synthesis succeed one thing and makes them of the soul, a dark room also occupied by thinking itself”.
As Rabelais says: “As with just about everything I do it’s mostly a matter of listening and waiting for the tracks to reveal their intentions.”  So I guess that this album will not work for you if you’re not receptible to what the music transcends.

Feeding guitar (and AM/FM sounds) through his AI software, some of the tracks have the same quality as the music on ‘Spellewauerynsherde‘: hardly graspable, ethereal sounds, like spirits circling all around you and tempting to lure you into regions unknown.
But on Caduceus, accumulating spirits can also become a legion of demons, with the unnerving sounds of thousands of nails scratching a blackboard.
Caduceus has two faces: it incorporates harsh loud noises as well as ethereal heavenly sounds.

“Outside of the full-on audio assault, there’s unsettling disquiet in its quietude” (liner notes).

It won’t be a surprise that I personally prefer the “pieces of quietude” – but fans of noise music will probably prefer the screeching loudness of the other tracks.

From this Samadhisound batch, Caduceus may be the most ‘difficult’ album to get into. It also requires to be judged unrelated to earlier releases. But once again Akira Rabelais delivers some very fascinating sounds!

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