- A walk through the uncanny valley from Raime and Valentina Magaletti.
- In 1919, Sigmund Freud wrote a paper called "Das Unheimliche." Translating to "The Uncanny," Freud's essay is largely concerned with the idea of the strange within the familiar and the strangely familiar. This concept speaks volumes to the work of London-based duo Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead, who have written some of the most uncanny electronic music of the last decade together as Raime–their work is full of tongue-in-cheek witticism. A clear example: one track on their stellar and goosebump-inducing 2018 EP Am I Using Content Or Is Content Using Me? is titled, presumably in jest, "Our Valleys Are Always Uncanny."
The group typically deal with themes of disengagement, excitement and familiarity through wordless pastiche of genres like post-punk, UK garage and weightless grime. Their latest outing is something completely different. Joining forces with Italian percussionist Valentina Magaletti as Moin, these brothers grim have experimented with lyric samples more than ever, while writing an album of shimmering psychedelic rock as seen through the kaleidoscope of styles that is Nic Tasker's label AD 93. Moot! is an unpretentious and fun record peppered with quick gear changes, pitch shifts and soul-searching anecdotes about empty neighbourhoods and peering into dark waters at dusk. Everything is immediate and anchored by Magaletti's percussion, which is both raw and immaculate.
You can hear the dance floor influences on "I Can't Help But Melt"—a rave and post-punk hybrid with a searing electric guitar solo—while "Lungs" features a strobing vocal sample and a chorus of frenetic guitar. Those familiar Raime production values gleam on "It's Never Goodbye," where the guitar sounds like an oncoming train. It's the kind of song that transports you to a Lynchian roadhouse, a haze of cigarette smoke and dull tungsten lighting.
Watertight drumming mingles with deep chord progressions that reverberate like copper rods struck with a hammer on "Right Is Alright, Wrong Is To Belong," while a neurotic voice blubbers "I think I went too far" over and over again. At parts, this album sounds like Slowdive, elsewhere an industrial metal band (think Godflesh). The tracks that sound most like the latter, such as the opener "No To Gods, No To Sunsets," manage to conjure a vision of a dark new world order. The lyrics on this track are the most disconcerting: "the neighbourhood is almost empty now–and so am I," setting an ominous stage for the rest of the album.
We live in a world ruled by the intermingling of personalities. When Andrews and Halstead experiment, they tend to do it very well. Here, together with Magaletti they have quietly exceeded themselves and this album could translate very well to a live show in a dimly lit basement. It's another eerie record to hang like a Renaissance painting in the uncanny gallery of their collective mind. Admission: pay what you want.
01. No To Gods, No To Sunsets
02. Crappy Dreams Count
03. Don't Make Me Wait
04. Right is Alright, Wrong Is To Belong
06. I Can't Help But Melt
07. An Utter Stink
08. It's Never Goodbye