Raoul Sinier: Huge Samurai Radish
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A prelude to Raoul Sinier's (formerly Ra) third full-length Brain Kitchen, Huge Samurai Radish serves up seven viral originals and five remixes as a hefty, hip-hop-flavoured appetizer. Sinier's gothic mutations are heavy on disturbed theatrical atmosphere, so much so that his mix of diseased church organs and unhinged beat acrobatics could conceivably be labeled “Dr. Phibes-styled hip-hop.” The black-hearted, convulsive dish Sinier prepares on the opening “Bring It On” doesn't digest easily while the combination of subterranean keyboard murk and lurching rhythms in “Untitled6” suggests the dying moments of a mortally wounded animal as it slithers through the sewer. “Bleach Bath” pummels with its boombastic, tumultuous flow while “March” is a nightmare brought to sonic life. The material's not all so morose: “Solid Flesh (Part 2)” works up some spirited energy and, believe it or not, includes a relatively sunny melody or two to boot.

The title cut gets taken for a remix ride by a varied guest list—Lynx & Ram, Datach'I, Wisp, La Caution, and Cannibal Ox's Vast Aire—with each one taming the beast in slightly different manner: Wisp slows the pace in his epic, funky interpretation; Lynx & Ram's woozy overhaul is as hellacious in spirit as Sinier's original; and Datach'I clothes his hyperactive treatment in a bleepy, drill'n'bass-coloured straightjacket. Vast Aire's vocal turn is memorable (a shame the MC is buried under noise during the tune's second half), as is La Caution's which gives the track a refreshing electro-hip-hop French twist.

May 2008