Record Watch: Christopher Rau – Mehris Mood EP (SMALLVILLE37)

We’re huge fans of Christopher Rau over at Subsoil Blog, so naturally hearing that he’s got a new release due to come out on Smallville warrants a post.

Christopher Rau Mehris Mood Smallville

This release sees Christopher Rau at his best: lyrical piano riffs, playful basslines and health and safety vocals are all backed by a depth of texture which renders the final result far from transparent. On the contrary, Christopher Rau seems adept at getting the most out of his samples; at taking them in unexpected directions, and at giving the final result a healthy dose of longevity. It’s not just this release either. 4 years on and we’re still listening to his debut LP, Asper Clouds and always hearing something new.

On the A side of this release is Mehris Mood. This is a really solid opener, matching a lively, playful, oscillating bassline with subdued gong-like sounds in the background, faint snatches of a vocal and something approaching a chord. That all amounts to a polished final track that I can really imagine wreaking havoc on a dancefloor.

The B side begins with Friends, which sounds almost like a theme tune to a kids’ cartoon with its twinkly melody before that beat comes in, transforming the track entirely. The calm beginnings of this track make me tempted to view it as one you’d play early on, but I’m not necessarily convinced it would have no place later on in a set. Listen closely and the beat is full of little sounds to keep it interesting.

The EP finishes with Cherry Jams, probably my favourite. This one is a builder, it seems to go towards something and yet never quite gets there, but that doesn’t take away from it. An enigmatic piano motif plays over a muffled health and safety vocal, creating a trippy atmosphere that doesn’t come across as cliché. The beat keeps things moving forwards, it’s sort of broken down into its constituent parts and is complemented by an occasional drone.

Those of you familiar with Christopher Rau’s sound will greet this EP with delight; it’s more of the same and yet something new at the same time. To those of you who don’t really know much about him, Mehris Mood is as good a place to start as any. As soon as it’s out, we’re gonna get it, if not for the music, for more of that Smallville artwork!


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