Review: Razen – Endrhymes

razen-endrhymes-coverEndrhymes is a never-ending fire drill. Sirens wail across rooms and hallways, crushing the air with excruciating shrill frequencies, urgently demanding an evacuation of the space. Yet there is no fire, and there is no way out. Listening to this record is like meandering through corridors under the persistent bleat of noise and imminent danger, unable to locate an exit within the labyrinth of turns and empty rooms, encountering no evidence of any immediate threat along the way. In other words; Endrhymes merges the sounds of aimlessness and absent progress (nauseating drones, plodding synth loops that helplessly fall back to where they started) with the shrill screams of terrible prophecy (bleating bagpipes, vigorously bowed and plucked strings, palpitating electronics). The noise rises with feverish conviction – pressing against the brink of becoming, adamant that disaster is nigh – yet never erupts into the chaos it so vividly foresees.

My first listen brings me to terms with this sense of unfulfilled collapse. Subsequent listens to Endrhymes allow me to focus on the way in which this situation manifests amongst the instruments of each piece. “Sleeper” enacts a duet between historical and future-gazing tones: synth arpeggiation dances with a frantic woodwind jig, each instrument morphing gently and nurturing a greater understanding of eachother. Similarly, the bagpipes and quivering electronics on “Reaper” swirl like dogfighting aeroplanes, curving away in microtonal slides and realigning again. Razen emit the warning that time is palindromic; that ancient instrumentation and the bleeps/hums of astral science behave in startlingly similar ways, and that the seemingly uncharted waters of the future merely enact the unfolding of history in reverse. Despite the music straining with an urgent desire to progress, Endrhymes cannot help but collapse back upon its own beginnings. Not an “aimless” record then, but one that dislocates itself from the linear concept of chronological progress. Wonderful to experience, and doubly wonderful to contemplate.