Rudi Arapahoe: Double Bind
Rudi Arapahoe

Double Bind presents nineteen minutes of new classical-electronic music from Rudi Arapahoe, whose Symbolic Interaction album Echoes From One To Another was chosen as textura's number one album of 2008. Calling the digital EP new is a bit of a misnomer, it turns out, because though it is newly released, the material itself was composed and recorded in 2008 and so naturally sounds like an extension of the album. If the tone is a tad bleaker, however, the reason might be traced to the title, with the term “double bind” having been coined by Gregory Bateson (and colleagues) in the 1950s to describe interpersonal interactions thar are perceived to precede and maintain schizophrenia; Arapahoe used the term as a conceptual springboard for the creation of the EP's five settings.

Some of the album's musicians appear on the EP, too, specifically Sara Chambers (viola), David Berger (vintage synthesizers), Eve Basilides (harp, voice), and, of course, Arapahoe, who's credited with field recordings, piano, and electronics, whereas Danny Norbury (cello) and Jovana Backovic (voice) are new additions. Setting the tone is “In Praise of Mirrors,” a gloomy scene-painting whose mystery is bolstered by processed harp strums and windswept seaside field recordings. Arapahoe's interest in Eastern sonorities is well-served by Basilides' presence during “Gregory's Game” as her harp playing is able to generate a dulcimer-like effect when subjected to electronic treatments. Electronic rhythms give “The Book of Knots” propulsion without compromising on the EP's tone, with in this case the piano and cello accounting for the music's macabre spirit. In the title piece, the singers' angelic voices intone wordlessly, their delicate wordless musings offering some glimmer of hope amidst funereal piano melodies and rumbling storms. Though madness constitutes part of the EP's thematic underpinning, the music itself is hardly unhinged or fractured. Instead, despair is the emotional quality that's most dominant, though not displeasingly so, musically speaking. If ever a musician seemed born to transpose Wuthering Heights into sonic form, it's Arapahoe.

August-September 2013