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Raime - Quarter Turns Over a Living Line

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Artist: Raime

Album: Quarter Turns Over a Living Line

Label: Blackest Ever Black

Review date: Nov. 19, 2012

Blackest Ever Black is a rather silly name for a record label, but Raime — the London duo of Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews — have done the imprint justice with a series of 12”s that blend smog-choked industrial clatter with cavernous echo and slasher film ambience. It’s a horror soundtrack for a wrong turn through the depths of urban decay in post-rave Britain. And one that has built considerable anticipation for the group’s next move.

With Quarter Turns Over a Living Line, the boys expand their vision to an album-length format. Allowed the ability to spread out, they do so in a way both wire-wound and further frayed. If Dylan Carlson’s Earth have become ambassador of rusted Americana via their haunted desert psychedelia, Raime provides a U.K. counterpart. Taking their inspiration from the rainiest corners of London, and the industrial and post-punk music produced there, the duo land on a doom-dub sound darker than anything else pouring forth from contemporary speakers.

The album features an added emphasis on live instrumentation compared to the earlier singles. Yet, the occasionally recognizable guitar licks add little human touch to the proceedings. Halstead and Andrews have spoken in interviews of how they recorded long instrumental pieces, then returned to the tapes to pluck the most damaged, unique elements. As such, on “Your Cast Will Tire,” the electric guitar plays not notes but string-grinding percussion, leaving just the metal-on-metal sound of frets scraping away.

“Soil and Colts,” released as a pre-album preview via SoundCloud, features monolithic clomps, between which are suspended wisps of sagging chords. Album-ending “The Dimming of Road and Rights” nearly sounds like a club banger slowed to a primal crawl — the soundtrack for an after hours joint where patrons dance in an opiated Audrey Horne-like sway.

Quarter Turns Over a Living Line is neither an easy, nor comforting listening, and absorbing the entire album can occasionally leave the listener gasping for air. However, as a portrait of a dystopian 21st century musical landscape, there is little better than this brand of pure British blackness.

By Ethan Covey

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