Grime has been making a big splash in the past year or so. The raucous, staccato style of urban dance music has maintained steady popularity in the UK since the early 2000s, while a few artists such as Dizzee Rascal and Wiley have experienced occasional crossover success in America and elsewhere. But recently, more cerebral releases from younger artists like Mumdance, Logos, and Visionist have sparked a renewed interest in the style, leading to a surge of new talent cropping up in places far removed both spatially and emotionally from the ghettos of London. Places like Houston, home of the wildly creative grime up-and-comer known as Rabit.
Rabit has been slowly building a name for himself in the last few years, releasing well-received tracks on a number of labels as well as collaborating with the aforementioned Mumdance and Logos. His profile got a huge boost when a remix of one of his songs showed up recently in a Rinse FM appearance by Björk. Nonetheless, Baptizm is probably his highest-profile release to date.
The EP is spacious and airy yet raw and vulnerable, with some vaguely ritualistic qualities befitting its title. The songs are all instrumental, yet they can be said to tell a story: Rabit grew up both gay and Catholic, and according to a release from his label, “On an emotional level, Baptizm is about having one’s life thrown completely out of order and finding solace in an imagined world. Themes of destruction and regeneration dominate throughout, as well as an ongoing obsession on the often‐ugly clash between sexuality and religion.”
This four-song offering, featuring artwork by Lane Stewart, makes an excellent addition to the Tri Angle Records roster, which has expanded in a lot of really interesting directions over the years from its witch-house roots. From the wonky reversed cymbals and gunfire bursts of “Bloody Eye” to the pummeling intensity of “Straps,” Rabit composes with a confidence and conviction many seasoned vets would envy. He’s definitely one to watch.
Baptizm is available now from Tri Angle Records.