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Rapoon – Blue Days

Blue Days

Blue Days

Robin Storey has been crafting music as Rapoon for almost twenty-five years, and this “ethno-ambient” project has been on my radar for quite some time. His latest release on Zoharum, Blue Days, marks my first foray into his material, and unfortunately, I have to say that it’s my hope this isn’t representative of his full body of work.

The promotional write-up on the label’s Bandcamp site states, “This is a record of ideas, sketches,” and that is a fair assessment, as much of the material does sound unfinished. Yes, there is structure here, but on most tracks a simple musical idea is presented and then just left to repeat over and over with very little variation. As a fan of ambient and experimental music, I often enjoy such an approach as it can be quite hypnotic. Subtle micro-changes can make a seemingly repetitive track utterly engaging. However, this technique falls flat for me on Blue Days, leaving me wanting something more fleshed out and better realized.

Robin Storey

Robin Storey

In some cases, rhythmic elements from previous tracks are slightly repackaged and used again on subsequent pieces, further reinforcing this homogenous feel. Even after several listens, I still find it hard to discern which track is which.

There  are some high points. For example, the Dirty Beaches-esque track, “In Black,” is quite engaging, with its distant, tribal percussion, hammer dulcimer, and odd horn work. Likewise, “In Golden Church” uses muted string lines and what sounds like detuned and manipulated vocal samples to create a lush, hypnotic tapestry of sound. However, the balance of the album elicits very little response from me, coming across instead as sonically monochromatic, yet somehow self-important. It seems to me as if Storey is saying, “Look at how experimental I’m being,” while simply recycling ideas he’s been unable to finish. In the end, Rapoon will remain on my radar, but I’ve a feeling I’ll tread cautiously through his other releases if Blue Days is any indication of the artist’s overall approach.

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Track List:

01) Winters Chime Deep
02) On Frozen Air
03) No One Came
04) In Black
05) Long Time Ago Now
06) The Angels Called
07) In Golden Church
08) With Dance of Trees
09) Air Gliden
10) Black Shadows
11) In Static Bursts
12) Small Light
13) Endless
14) Blue Days

Written by: Ben Hudgins
Label: Zoharum (Poland) / ZOHAR 110-2 / CD
Ambient / Experimental / Tribal