Les Fleurs Du Mal


Les Fleurs Dul Mal is the absorbingly grotesque sophomore album by pioneering artist, DJ, and label owner Eric C. Burton, aka Rabit, who, along with regular collaborators such as Chino Amobi and Elysia Crampton, is in part responsible for defining the contemporary conflux of avant club, folk, and noise musics. On his follow-up to Communion (2015), Rabit indulges his fascinations with psychedelic themes in an ambitious attempt to locate his sense of self amid increasingly chaotic environments. The result is a personal milestone for the artist; a riveting tableaux of hyper sensual texture, color, and melody, forming a densely detailed and layered prism to best peer upon the abyss between his reality, your own, and a shared consensual hallucination. In aesthetic and intent, Rabit boldly embraces the vacuum left by the late, great Coil; realizing a genre-agnostic consolidation of folk, new age, drone, and noise tropes transcended through acousmatic processing and modular synthesis, in this case fittingly provided by erstwhile Coil member Drew McDowell. In the process, he potentially triangulates Les Fleurs Dul Mal with records by fellow Coil fiends, Elysia Crampton's Demon City (2016) and Chino Amobi's Paradiso (2017), who all essentially project bold, new, independent worlds unto themselves which find common links in Coil's canon. Unfolding in 12 movements, like some future classical tragedy, Rabit gestures his sounds with a remarkable freedom of rhythmic meter and freehand strokes that belies its meticulous construction below the surface. Cecilia's vocals and the sharp strings of opener "Possessed" suggest the spirit of Baudelaire's text heard at street level, while the dissonant stress of "Bleached World" -- a secret weapon 'til now -- expresses a beautifully bittersweet anguish, and the recursive curdle of "Ontological Graffiti" catches in the throat with uncannily emotive effect. "The Whole Bag" locates his firmest dembow rhythms, but buried under collapsing sidereal pressure, and Cecelia's return in closer "Elevation" perfectly emulates something like a new age tristesse, which defines the record's humanity in the face of such uncompromising synthetic sensations. RIYL: Coil, Elysia Crampton, Autechre, Visionist. Artwork by Collin Fletcher; Photo by Lane Stewart. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy.