Following a string of dates across Europe as well as an Australian tour, both under his solo Pariah moniker and his Karenn collaboration with fellow Londoner Blawan, Arthur Cayzer is set to release his first single since two well-received offerings in 2010. It’s an exciting return to wax for a much-lauded young UK producer. The tracks that got him noticed by Belgium’s R&S Records moved effortlessly between restless dubstep drenched with forlorn soul vocals and beatless experiments in textural ambience, and Pariah’s new release takes as its basis a shortwave radio aesthetic; crackling textures grappling with choppy percussion and faraway vocal samples. Across its three tracks Rift explores unsettling lo-fi bass techno that’s often wistfully poignant.
The title track slides an ominous bass above a dark beat somewhere between vintage garage and current UK bass. Dissonant notes are held while a pitched sample breathes a dystopic melody. It’s followed by Signal Loss, which uses similar percussive ideas, albeit in a markedly more minimalist manner. Hazy piano chords accompany distant vocals, building to an urgent midway breakdown. Finally, Among Those Metal Trees, a title that evokes the tangled industrial sleeve art courtesy of Will Bankhead, is an example of Cayzer’s interest in loop-based music and soundscapes, taking an Arthur Russell vocal line and repeating it underneath surreal washing waves of chords and field recordings.
It’s an atmosphere that complements the melancholic Pariah sound extremely well. When Inverted Audio spoke to the young producer, he seemed enamored by the idea of shortwave radio and Cold War-era coded transmissions. While emphasizing that this release is at most aesthetically based on such material, he did mention a plan at some point for “a release that’s a lot more closely linked to the idea of old radio transmissions.” Essentially, apart from the strong positive response already welcoming Rift, Cayzer feels as though it is indicative of his moving closer to a sound he wants to explore some more.
His Karenn project with Jamie Roberts, AKA Blawan, also appears to be developing healthily, with a couple of releases on their Works The Long Nights Label already drawing attention. The Karenn live show is to be hotly anticipated too, a semi-improvised, 100% analogue techno jam exploring each of their dancefloor tastes, and the fruits of their collaboration. The innovative Blawan seems to have had a positive effect on the solo Pariah project, with the producer working on something “substantial” for the end of the year, another double-pack perhaps.
Having dispelled notions that an album is set for release this year, a full-length is certainly on the cards. However, he’s aware of the danger of a debut presenting itself as more “a collection of tracks than a fully formed album.” Cayzer writes music that’s intentionally song-structured, even claiming Rift to display a “slight verse-chorus structure.” His attachment to vocal samples is already abundantly clear, using them in most of his productions to date, so it comes as little surprise that he’s keen to work largely with vocalists for his debut LP, on “most, if not all of the tracks.”
So, quite a lot to look forward to from the London-based Scot. But what might follow an album? “Ideally I want to get into writing beatless music, and production for other people…I think it would be really interesting…”