It’s rare to find an album that lets your imagination run wild. This is an understatement when it comes to Rabbit Rabbit‘s latest release. Year of the Wooden Horse is an auditory illusion that brings to you to a place of dreams and magic.
Vol. 3 is penultimate to Vol. 1. The initial notes that originated within that space will not be soon replaced. With that said, there are a few songs that struck me as being part of the elite group of original works that has the capability to stun the listener into trance.
You can lose yourself to a song such as Rabbit Rondo, quite easily, if you drown out your surroundings, via a pair of adequate headphones. Tell your significant other that you’re studying a new language and they’ll soon understand that lost look on your face. Every song on this record tells a story, with or without lyrics, and Carla Kihlstedt, singer for RR, pushes the envelope and invites you to take a trip into Wonderland (or Underland, if you’re feeling a bit glum). And you may find you’re crawling your way back more than once. This one track, in particular, sent me somewhere else entirely.
I see a woman traveling alone on a great old wooden ship; it carries her to the shoreline of a mysterious island, where she disembarks and is greeted with tangles of tree branches and a copse of people who she must duck and twist under in order to get through.
A departure from this imagery finds itself deeply embedded in The Beautiful Blur. There’s a little jazzy country guitar riff on this track introduced by Mark Orton.
In fact, RR has collaborated with many different artists, to comprise the brilliance of their latest album. Key players include Jon Evans, Nels Cline, Fred Frith, and more.
Joel Hamilton lends his voice to Falling Awake, to use another example.
There’s an amazing aspect to most of the tracks in that they keep you on your toea. You never know which instrument will surface from the spectrum of otherworldly gifts these musicians display. The songs never end when you think they will. Either ending abruptly, all too soon, or there is a lingering note that continues to ring in the frontal lobe long after the song’s completion.
Then there is a song called Nameless, which reminds me of a lighter riff from Korn’s Pretty. Then a melody of strings produce whiny sounds like a record played backward while a creepy piano resounds in the background, bringing the reminder of a child’s story turned dark as the reality adulthood acknowledges facts of life that no one could anticipate. Nameless is a song of fear and anticipation. It’s a bit more rocky than RR’s earlier stuff to round out the diverse sounds of the rest of the album.
Jump to Oblivious, with guitar almost akin to maybeshewill, Swans, or Russian Circles, featuring the trademark ambient sound of Rabbit Rabbit. Then a voice in league with Taylor Momsen from the Pretty Reckless cries out and you’re immediately trapped by the lyrics. “… We learn without trying… we know without learning…” Kihlstedt sings.
If you’re interested in hearing more from this unique set of pipes, check out Rose Kemp by Dark Corners. Kihlstedt is featured on this track as well.
Want to watch her play alongside percussionist Matthias Bossi? Here is one of my favorites from Vol. 1:
For more information about Rabbit Rabbit, click here to visit their website. If you’re looking for a fun read, head over to Matthias’s blog. (I especially like the one with the words “… nothing below has anything to do with anything…”)
To listen to the new album, you can purchase it from their website or listen to samples of their sound on Spotify.