Review: Rhythm Baboon – Baboonism

Percussion crushed up like coke cans, trampled under passing pedestrian traffic, who in turn try to hold conversations among the din of ambulance sirens and car horns and white noise winds, burying the throb of bass drum that runs underneath like the forgotten reminder of passing time. It’s a lot to take in. The opening track on “Cor 2 Cor” sets the headspace of Baboonism: distracted, overwhelmed and possibly overworked, crumpled by the bustle of a city that seems to forever be closing further in. It’s a busy record. Sounds come in disparate clumps of three or four – finger clicks, estranged dream-voices, shoegaze amplifier wash – seemingly pulled from separate corners of memory and experience, clashing gruesomely in their harmonic content and adhered through sheer loud volume instead. Everything becomes inducted into the steamroller cycle of that central throbbing electronic rhythm which, in a homage to Chicago footwork, skips and staggers in a manner that betrays the true weight of the world that presses down from above.

“Nitecrawler” is the one moment that Baboonism strips right back to pure electronic beat: an alternation of palpitating bass drum thump and snare crack, like a heart in flustered overdrive. Even when the cacophony pulls back, residual trauma still hangs around to keep the beats askew. The voices on the record don’t sound healthy either; they’ve been slowed and slurred, drunk and run down, like the limp monologue of self-talk that tries to provide assurance and confidence to a mind brought to breaking point. Often they’re wrapped in that rapid-fire delay that has them shunted through angular air ventilation shafts, snaking between the loops of choir and circular saw drones, trapped within annuls of monochromatic identity loss. Because that’s what Baboonism conjures for me: losing one’s self in the tides of excessive experience, measured by that panicked heart that gallops – dun-dadun-dun-dun-dadun – way too fast into the future.