Ralf Rabendorn

Album Title: 
Release Date: 
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Review Type: 

On June 7th 2015 we did upload a review for the newest Ralf Rabendorn-recording, the Among Black Hearts EP, and because I am such a lazy guy, I’d like to refer to that review for some additional information about this talented guy (who also owns the ContraMusikProduktion-label).

This review deals with an ‘older’ release by Ralli’s self-named solo-outfit, brought out three years ago (only one day before our Mater terra would officially come to her end). It was his fourth piece, but apparently the writing sessions started in 2008, and as usual, Ralf took care of the visual aspects too. Only lyrically he has been helped out, with Gregory James Wyrick as co-lyricist; a human being that is, just like Ralf, a multi-disciplined artist (writer, photographer, musician), and there is a guest appearance by (in mean time deceased) Testphasen Negativ’s colleague Jarosch von der Grünen Alm too, FYI.

Exile brings fifty minutes of sonic experiment, taking elements from several music(k)al angles. Since there are six compositions on this album, it would be too crazy to describe all of them, but I will focus on a couple of them. Please don’t point your finger at me for having certain pieces untold, all right…

Anyway, after an untitled one-minute introduction (pretty crazy it is!) comes Slip Away, Pt. 1, an extremely strange thing to get through, based on weird noisy guitar lines, some piano, avant-garde drum patterns, and somewhat whispering vocals – like a purest elaboration of the MedusaDa-trend (check this out, folks!!!). I do adore the dark-edged, somewhat asphyxiating atmosphere that defines this piece; and it is only the beginning! Those strange vocal lines, by the way, do appear throughout quite a big deal of the album. Tiefer In Exil is a track that comes closer to the former Ralf Rabendorn-works, for being rooted within the Psychedelic trend (though, ‘trend’ must NOT been seen as a word comparable to ‘trendy’!!!), mingling elements from Avant-garde, Post-Rock, Neo-Punk (does it actually exist? Otherwise I did just invent this term…), Kraut Rock, Psychedelic Jazz and even Metal. It’s an unbelievably varying yet oh so cohesive piece, and why not, a classic for one reason or another?! A piece like The Dark Exile, then again, has to be placed within dimensions of ultra-mega-maxima-obscured Dark Ambient Industrial alike grimness, including the oppressive and ominous identity that un-colors the Underground scene. Songs like The Collectors Of Minutes, Vor Augen or Repentance Of Midnight (more metalized once again) are like Sin City’ish stories that combine suppression with humour noir, like non-Music, yet rather like story-telling aural experimentation. There’s quite some Pseudo-Noise too (once again, a definition courtesy of undersigned) by means of little Angelo Badalamenti-alike no-nonsense, cf. pieces like Rast or Das Ungute Gefühl. And with tracks like Freihändig Richtung Abgrund or Rapid Eye Movement we can even experience moment of frenzy and minimal Industrial Noise.

One of the greatest things on this album is the fluent, natural cohesion. Despite the many sonic elements, the whole album sounds like one single, long-stretched aural story. The cinematic and narrative (!) character at the one hand, and the acceptable extremities of song writing and execution at the other hand, go sweetly hand in hand, without one single moment of fakeness – which is quite remarkable, because of the experimental approach! Once again this is an album that needs –and deserves- many listens, but indeed it needs to be listened several times, and it deserves to be listened several times. Besides, the mix is like it needs to be, searching for the perfect balance in between all elements: voices and instruments.

I will repeat: this will NOT be your thing when you’re afraid to undergo experimentation. And I have to admit: normally I am not that much ‘into’ avant-garde progression whatsoever either. But what Ralf Rabendorn brings with this album is something quite unique, quite impressive, and almost intolerable. Therefor we must pay tribute – no seriously, this kind of open-mindedness and, at the same time, professionalism, must be hailed! …see (my totally subjective) score…