Spectac: Rabbid
Front End Synthetics

Near the end of “Seedy Players,” Spectac re-creates the kind of incoherent sound collage that results when a radio dial flits rapidly from one channel to another. It's an apt metaphor for the sound of Rabbid in general, as Spectac's dense debut samples innumerable styles throughout its twelve tracks like some helplessly afflicted ADD-sufferer. In fact, Rabbid, from Ireland's Front End Synthetics, calls to mind the recent Spezialmaterial release One is a Very Small Crowd by Softland. Both are intricate recordings packed with so much detail that Softland even lists the number of samples per song in the liner notes (“Honda,” for example, is purported to have 14,098,784 samples). And, like the Softland release, Spectac's is no heartwarming exercise in becalmed melodic electronica but is, instead, a challenging, sometimes claustrophobic release whose moods veer between nightmarish psychosis (the insane organ and synth lines on “Seedy Players”) and ambient psychedelica (the ghostly scrapings, buzzing, and laughing voices of “Ephidrina 303”). As stated, every possible style one might imagine appears, if only fleetingly. “Cyborgs,” for example, pairs a light-hearted funk beat with reggae-tinged guitar scratching while “Old Clicky-Knees” features thrumming melodies and martial snare rhythms. A succinct overview of the prototypically unhinged “Finger Battery” may offer some impression of the Rabbid style. Its sickly groaning sounds segue into a warped waltz rhythm of woozy melodicas, followed by episodes of rapturous synths, scraping guitars, roller-coaster organs, and wild breakbeats. “TV (Wie)” is similarly idiosyncratic as it moves from classical keyboard lines and skipping, stumbling beats to a sound collage of whistling, birds, howling, and laughing before ending with an old jazz sample. Spectac wisely ends the proceedings on a more coherent and uplifting note with the propulsive “Do You Want the Tea?” as its billowing keyboards voice melancholy melodies in a graceful coda. By recording's end, the overwhelmed listener concludes that Rabbid is by turns anthemic, pounding, stately, slinky, and alien—an unremittingly challenging yet memorable experience.

December 2003