BLOOODHOUND – R.A.T. – EP Review
If there’s one thing I’ve certainly always appreciated when it comes to the music I listen to, it’s an artist or band that can generate the interest it takes to create the desire to follow them right down the rabbit-hole, no matter how far it might take you, or how dark it can get. Heck – if it wasn’t for feeling that way, I wouldn’t even DO any of the things I do now…listening to Aphex Twin for the first time some twenty-odd years ago lead me to searching out anything & everything that I could find out about the guy, which eventually led me to a tiny internet magazine that scored a rare interview with him, and voila – here I am. That’s always been the real story in a nutshell, simple as that. So as I sat here pounding out keys into my Google machine, trying to find ANYTHING out that I could about the elusive BLOOODHOUND – I had to kind of smile at what a maze I ended up inside of, with nearly next to nothing to show for it. Aside from what you can cobble together from pictures and the most random fragments of online information, there’s next to nothing out there aside from the music itself…and sometimes, you gotta figure that’s the way they want it. I know that was what Aphex wanted way back in the day – that same interview I found had him responding to questions in only consonants and numbers half the time – so even when we thought we might have had a morsel of valid information, we just ended up with more questions than when we actually started reading it to begin with. Learning about BLOOODHOUND was a lot like that for me over this past week or so in listening to this new EP R.A.T. – I have…just about a million unanswered questions about this artist…and you really gotta give her the credit she genuinely deserves as to the reason WHY that even IS – that all comes out of 100% genuine interest and wanting to know absolutely everything I can about the brilliantly freakish mastermind making this badass music.
Because I’ll tell ya this right here, right now – I could listen to R.A.T. all damn day – this record is wicked.
“It feels like you’re in a dream” – you got that right sister, and there’s no doubt about it – “dancing pigs” makes it crystal clear you’re not about to embark on any kind of typical journey in music; this first track alone will pretty much turn your world upside down just in the process of listening to it & trying to sort it all out. BLOOODHOUND will give you a minute or so for you to ease into it, before the sound contorts & crying ensues…phone calls are being connected…PANIC sets in…and some of the most subtle & fierce intensity you’re gonna hear inside of music this year comes in to twist a track like “dancing pigs” into raw, unfiltered, undeniably gripping ART. NO you will NOT be singing along with BLOOODHOUND today folks…and if that’s the kind of music you’re looking for right now, kindly move aside so the rest of us can rabidly consume every moment of innovative, creative genius that you’re gonna find on the R.A.T. EP. It’s completely easy to recognize that this isn’t going to be everyone’s jam by any stretch of the imagination – but BLOOODHOUND already knows that full-well, don’t you worry. You don’t go into making music like what you’ll find on this record thinking it’s gonna please the masses – but those of us that get it, connect to it, or just straight-up dig the value of something completely different – good lord! There’s simply nothing but creative freedom and artistic fearlessness from start to finish on this record. BLOOODY genius if you ask me…”dancing pigs” is just about as compelling and captivating as an experience in music can be as this EP begins…the kind of cut that had me pretty much begging out loud that BLOOODHOUND would go on to keep on doing THIS throughout the rest of the record, whatever it is that THIS may even BE! Because there’s really no way to fully understand or know what it is you’re up against as this EP begins…but I promise ya, by the time it’s over, you’ll be as convinced as I am about the creative brilliance behind the music of BLOOODHOUND – there’s a massive future & career to be had here. I’m not promising any kind of unrealistic mainstream BS – I’m talkin’ about longevity, a loyal fan-base, and music that has limitless potential & possibilities. Strange AF, yes – but there’s also no doubt that there’s something savagely special being started up here as well…and I am 100% HERE. FOR. IT.
As “1999 (Melissa)” started out with its low-end infused vibes, you might make an argument that for at least the first minute or so, BLOOODHOUND isn’t too distant a cousin from something synthetically tribal, like you’d hear in some of the cuts from Massive Attack. Overall, you’re gonna find that a track like this plunges that much further into the creative & artistic depths of the Trip-Hop realm of sound, but I suppose at the end of the day, if you’re gonna attach a label of some kind genre-wise, that’s probably the most suitable fit. Sure you’re just as likely to find BLOOODHOUND rockin’ strong in the ‘experimental’ section too (whatever that is) – but the expertise & technique on display through the production, the dynamics of sound, and all-out cleverness of the ideas at work in the music you’ll find are by no means made by any kind of novice. So…yes…technically VERY experimental in the structure, sound, and design – but don’t mistake a label like that to imply any kind of substandard material – BLOOODHOUND proves to be outright hypnotic and fascinating as “1999 (Melissa)” plays on. It’s GRIM stuff when it comes right down to it, content-wise…BLOOODHOUND pulls zero punches in that regard throughout this entire record. Title-wise, again, BLOOODHOUND set me on a maze of research trying to figure out the significance…and while I can’t be sure, there is definitely a potential tie-in with the murder of Melissa Wolfenbarger, who was apparently discovered decapitated & dismembered in the trash back in 1999. To make things even more horrific, those remains weren’t even identified for another four years afterwards according to what I’ve learned. Does this have anything to do with “1999 (Melissa)” concretely? It’d be impossible for anyone to say other than BLOOODHOUND – but you get the point, right y’all? Giving you tiny pieces to work with and little threads that tie the fabric of R.A.T. together is exactly the right way to go about stimulating the mind without having to spell out the entire story in some kind of clear-cut & direct way. I’ve given you one theory on “1999 (Melissa)” and I’m sure there are likely to be more as time goes on & people check this record out…now enters the mythology in the art, you dig? Now we start to form our own theories as to what these songs may or may not be about – the point is, BLOOODHOUND creates provocative art through music that generates discussion.
All that being said, sometimes all you’ve got to go on is what’s right in front of you. I don’t know what the tie-in between a title like “U.S.C. 1028A” would be, or if there is one, or if that’s even an important thing to BLOOODHOUND or just another name for another track…but musically, heck ya, it’s cohesive AF. The contrast here is stunning…angelic & graceful music, and gritty dark themes that run through the spoken word samples along with it. According to the world of the internet, “U.S.C. 1028A” would be a direct reference to the US code on ‘aggravated identity theft’ – which in theory, would give you another piece of this puzzle overall, however still fuzzy the full picture may be. QUALITY ideas BLOOODHOUND – I’m genuinely amazed m’lady, no doubt about it whatsoever. The hypnotic values of the music cannot be emphasized enough here in print – to hear it all in action is entirely its own separate deal. “U.S.C. 1028A” juxtaposes serenity in sound with scattered details & fragmented pieces of a storyline for you to try & put together in some kind of cohesive way that makes sense – but even if you don’t end up with one particular answer to it all, or ‘solve’ this EP and what it’s really all about – there’s no question that the sheer variety of textures, tones, and remarkable ideas you’ll find will keep you fully engaged along the way. Some music just sounds interesting to listen to, that’s the reality – and I’d argue tooth & nail that that’s exactly what BLOOODHOUND creates…it’s freakin’ DEADLY in theme, but SO ALIVE in sound. The ideas that you’ll find, from the melodies in the music, to the inclusion of the spoken word samples that darken these cuts like looming shadows blocking out your sunshine forever, are 100% spellbinding; “U.S.C. 1028A” is as oddly soothing as it is strange…and I feel like feeling this way might tell you more about me than it does about the music, so perhaps I best move on. Tune in to the next episode of the SBS Podcast and I promise ya, I’ll tell ya some more things about BLOOODHOUND & spin this very track.
Through “MagicLantern” you learn quickly about the origin of the EP’s moniker, as a sample will flash the acronym of R.A.T. fully spelled out for ya, which is to say, it’s a “remote access Trojan.” These malevolent songs & mischievous set continues to add in the spoken word samples – quite a few of these come from authentic 911 calls if I’m hearing this all correctly…all chopped up & twisted with the addition of other samples and words like “evil” being threaded in throughout the record. “Have you ever had a dream of killing someone?” you’ll hear the voices ask out loud…it’s intense stuff y’all – R.A.T. in general is not built for the faint of heart, the squeamish, or those out there that can’t handle a more scattered design to the music they’re listening to. BLOOODHOUND is definitely making music for a more niche audience & narrower slice of the pie when it comes to the people out there – but I have all the confidence in the world that uniqueness & technique combined like this, gets the attention it genuinely deserves soon enough. Love the way she’s got this piano-led melody all twisted & morphed to the nth degree…loving the details that she’s got in the atmosphere along with it…and I’m completely digging the fearlessness it really takes to make music like this that’s by no means straight-ahead by any definition. Listening to BLOOODHOUND deconstruct this cut as it plays…it’s damn near like you’ve got your finger clicking the pause-button at times on certain sounds coming & going like you were leaning on your mouse & didn’t even realize it…and the effect of that makes for this stop/start effect on “MagicLantern” that feels like it gives this single song multiple lives inside this one experience. I would assume the real tie-in to the entire concept is revealed here…”have you ever had a dream of killing someone?” is a key detail – as is the title of the record, as if to say that a R.A.T. could as easily infect the thought process of our minds; and once it’s found a way in there, you’ve got a whole jumbled mess of stuff to deal with and your entire operating system is forever changed. It’s just a theory I’m workin’ with, so take it, or leave it.
While you’re never going to find a typical single of any kind on a record like this, there’s still a good chance that a cut like “sapphire” has the most for the everyday set of ears to latch onto, with a bit of added spark & vibrant bounce in the mix throughout its scattered thoughts, tears & laughter on display. Don’t get me wrong…ya still ain’t gonna be singing along here all of a sudden, but you’ll get what I mean when you have a listen for yourself – “sapphire” has a bit more tangible sound along the way that people can reach…and while I don’t necessarily think that’s gonna be quite enough to convince any of the holdouts in listening to a record like R.A.T., hopefully it’ll at least keep’em paying attention for a moment or two. Exposure COUNTS y’all – it really does. It takes several steps through music’s history before you end up reaching something like what BLOOODHOUND has got goin’ on, and for the majority of listeners there’s no question it’s a bridge too far – but every time an artist like this can introduce a piece of crossover sound, or produce a moment that’ll make someone outside of the genre pay attention – the more the doors open for the future to follow. Maybe listeners hang around to dig on the eerie & haunting sound that “sapphire” begins with, if only just to figure out where in the heck it might go – it really doesn’t matter, it’s a form of musical osmosis that helps evolve anyone in contact with it. The next time those same people come across something strange or bizarre or uncomfortable in music, the more likely they’d be inclined to stick around. The same is true for this very song – like I said, you don’t get here by going straight from point-A to point-B in music-listening – you follow a very twisted path that’s open to just about everything & anything…but if you found yourself at the very end of a track like “sapphire,” know that it’s because that barrier with bizarreness has already been broken for you somewhere long ago. Now, by the time you reach this oddity by BLOOODHOUND, your own personal palette has created a gateway into accepting the strange side of sound…and you’re not just ready for it, you’re pretty much craving music with this level of curious genius and authentic anti-typical creativity.
Probably fair to say that in many ways, “W32RITUAL” becomes one of the main centerpieces and pivotal cuts that’s key to enjoying this record, given that it’s nearly double the size of all the rest – so even just by the measure of length alone, it’s an important cut to the success of the R.A.T. EP for BLOOODHOUND. I gotta say m’lady – you are one exceptionally twisted sister, and I am absolutely loving just how far you’ve pushed the boundaries of art & music BLOOODHOUND – you’ve earned my devotion & precious ear-time in every conceivable way. Personally, I love hearing things like how “W32RITUAL” sparks up with such accessible bass-driven synth vibes as it surges towards the third minute – it’s moments like this that tell you, BLOOODHOUND absolutely COULD have played things straight-ahead at any time if she WANTED TO – which she clearly, does not. And for that, I’m thankful. No joke, I’m probably just as addicted to the vibe in that third minute as you are – I’m just saying I’m thankful that BLOOODHOUND continually chooses to make things more challenging for herself, and therefore us as well, as listeners. Ears need exercise as far as I’m concerned – and a mental workout like you get throughout the course of listening to this record and trying to piece it all together will probably wear you the fuck right out in the best of ways. Same thing applies to the final transition as you head into the sixth minute and you get what’s inarguably the sweetest melody that BLOOODHOUND has supplied you with, throwing it to us like a life-raft so that we can navigate ourselves safely to the end without gettin’ hurt no more! R.A.T. will make you squirm…it’ll make you squeamish…and it SHOULD – because provocative art, when created effectively, WILL make you feel something. I can guarantee ya this – the last thing anyone out there will feel about listening to the music of BLOOODHOUND is indifferent, and that’s priceless when it comes to the potential value of an artist & what they can end up contributing to the world. Make no mistake y’all…she might be twisted…she might be polarizing…she might even be a heckin’ murderer herself, based on this whole haunting EP she’s put together and basically telling us that directly through the music like an audible admission or secret shared with those listening closely…but the one thing I think we’ll all be able to agree on universally, is that BLOOODHOUND is a visionary artist with a shocking gift to create unique music that you’ll never be able to erase from your mind, whether you like it, or not.
Find out more about the music of BLOOODHOUND from this magical multi-link: https://ffm.to/r-a-t
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