Album Review

Rale – Some Kissed Charms That Would Not Protect Them (Isounderscore, 2011)


RaleSide B (excerpt)

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Isounderscore is a tightly curated label, this being only the fifth release in 2 years, and each one being a total fucking winner. So that means whenever they put something out, you know it’s going to be fucking top notch. Rale’s new LP is no different. William Hutson has been hiding on the West Coast, releasing a little here and there, staying mostly below the radar. But I think Some Kissed Charms The Would Not Protect Them is going to be the one that will undeniably prove his holy awesomeness to everyone with blinders on.

Some Kissed Charms is a mostly minimal, mostly synthy drone monster, spicing things up with some noise & field recordings (I think?) on two side long pieces. The A side is a heaving sweetheart, giving you massive swells of dense intimidation, never breaking any volume records or shattering eardrums, but glowing bright & loud enough to make your knees quake a bit. But in between those swells are loooong drawn out bouts of nothing. Literally, multiple minutes go by with nothing but the texture of vinyl and your surrounding white noise, making each listening experience entirely different from the next. Walking home late at night with this on the headphones, for example, is a fantastic way to listen to this, as the occasional car passes by, mimicking the rise & fall of the drones on the record. Too fucking cool. Eventually the silent spurts turn into a high end unnerving ambience, along the lines of bowed metal, then some distant helicopters get mixed in, each successive “in between” lull adding a little more, but always the waves of beautiful hypnotic clarity continue to wash up, and ending just as the B side starts, creating a smooth transition to the otherwise intrusive physicality of flipping the record.

The B side is starts out rearing its head in the same slow pulsing way as before, but the repetitive swells don’t last, instead going for a minimally textured glitched bubbling weave, like melting icicles on top of a blanket of thick tones. Rather than letting your environment paint a picture for you like on the A side, Rale does all the heavy lifting, conjuring images of watching a thunderstorm roll in on the beach, the dripping ice turning into rain drops piercing raincoats, wind whipping tarps against the sand, blowing a soothing grit into the mic, breathing in the salted air and waiting for the storm to reach shore, only to find that it just misses the coast and you see the tail end of it, safe from the expected destruction, the rain still pelting your face, worse than before, but enjoying it without fear and wallowing in the glory of the lightening sky, the majesty of nature beautifully overwhelming.

So Rale’s new record is pretty fucking astounding. If this can’t convince people of his greatness, nothing can. BUT ACT FAST, only 300 copies were made, and they are insanely awesome to behold. Just like Acre’s Isolationist, that image up there looks like ass compared to the real deal. It’s a bright neon blue jacket with silver foil stamping, artwork done by none other than Brandon Nickell himself. Hot. As. Fuck.

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