Album Review: R.A.T | Blooodhound
If there’s one thing indie experimental should be admired for, it’s the terrific freedom and boundless horizons given to explore. That’s not always a blessing though. Bjork once said ‘I thought I could organize freedom - how Scandinavian of me’. This kind of freedom can lead to chaos, aesthetically unpleasant music and extremely abstract material that is hard to connect with. Other times we have controlled, extraordinary pieces of conceptual music like Blooodhound’s R.A.T that sound warm, personal and therefore one of a kind. Let’s go into it.
A pulsing ether reminding me of Lorde’s ‘Ribs’ opens ‘dancing pigs’ like a transparent beating heart made of dreams. The track progresses adding ghastly bells and phone ringing, while the voice of Blooodhound sounds like a phone call from a parallel universe. Ominous laughter, abstract story-telling and mysterious, incomplete messages make for a ‘psychological horror’ adventure. As ‘dancing pigs’ flows into ‘1999(Melissa)’ like nothing changed, soprano vocals are chanting a spell that slows down time. It’s haunting, numbing and feels like we’re trapped in an endless loop. The line ‘It feels like you’re in a dream, it’s good then it’s bad, each time it feels like it will last forever, good, bad, anyway you wake up’ taken from ‘dancing pigs’ captures the whole essence of the sound until now successfully. The experience is so cinematic that it’s easier to compare to a haunted mansion-themed film or survival horror game rather than another piece of music. At this point I’m amazed by the way the album cover art seems to visualize the connection between the listener and the parallel universe of the artist so accurately.
A heavenly harp melody brings some light into this darkness like FATM’s ‘Cosmic Love’, and together with all the materials from ‘dancing pigs’ and ‘1999’, it seems like nothing changed and everything changed at the same time. A paradox. This is ‘U.S.C 1028A’. The way lines like ‘isn’t that funny?’ and ‘it will last forever’ repeat themselves make R.A.T feel like an out-of-body experience: Watching the world from above, realizing that it’s a never ending cycle, almost in vain, and there’s only a couple of things that truly matter. It’s a reminder that life would be better if we didn’t take it so seriously. Each of us isn’t but a tiny dot in the universe after all. ‘Magic Lantern’ keeps the same magic going, balancing between Blooodhound’s dimension and the real world (defined by human speaking) while dramatic keys enter towards the end of the track bringing a goth vibe to the table. The eerie synths and distorted vocal effects of ‘sapphire’ confirm that the second part of the album has an extra dose of dark matter taking the album a step closer to the unknown as if it wasn’t a black hole by itself already! The 7-minute-long ‘W32RITUAL’ is a bumpy ride of interchanging moods and feelings like chaos was let to swallow everything and spit it out melted and deconstructed. If I had to put the line ‘It’s good, then it’s bad, then it’s good again’ under my overthinking microscope, I’d conclude this album is 'good' from ‘dancing pigs’ to ‘sapphire’ and gets hostile in ‘W32RITUAL’. Repeat and it gets ‘good’ again. The bass in the middle of the closing track was a wonderful surprise and, to be honest, I missed the extra depth some bass lines would offer in this -already deep- body of work.
Anyway, I’m happy to say that R.A.T shows the ‘good’ side of experimental music. Through this album Blooodhound opens a gate from her world into ours and tries to connect with all the weary, troubled souls who are searching for a place to belong. And even though the light years between her and us make the connection sound worn out and rusty, I personally find that the message is pretty clear: Life is a dream. We were floating into nothingness, woke up into this state we call life only to walk through it and get back to the nothingness we came from. ‘It’s good, then it’s bad, then it’s good again’. Wow. I could translate the hell out of this album if I had to!
Enjoy R.A.T here: