Following up on 2020’s critically acclaimed “Ballad of the External Life” LP, Rrill Bell’s latest outing on Elevator Bath is a complex amalgamation of acoustic source materials (metallophones, winds, strings, and brass), (cassette) tape treatments, and digital assemblages, which coalesced over a period of six years, starting from the artist’s desire to build a highly personal album around a turn-of-the-century recording of his late grandmother singing an impromptu hymn in Slovak dialect at a family gathering, resurrected from memory after lying dormant for 50+ years. Working through a family legacy of religious hallucinations/visions, the album (in spite of its tongue-in-cheek title) unironically explores themes of potentially staged transcendence, ecstasy of suspicious origins, vulnerability, inspired/anxious states of mind, fractured identity, doubt, rupture, redemption by proxy, and the dilemma of being forced to adopt a perspective in a contingent universe.
The music on “False Flag Rapture” is restless yet focused, shifting, evolving – like “Ballad…”, never staying in one place too long – and features a wide range of aural perspectives, as well as a strong sense at times of “listening with”, rather than merely “listening to”. Hyper-detailed, darkly tinged ecstatic/manic passages alternate with dreamlike chamber pieces and muted celestial drifts cloaked in an uneasy haze, with the occasional disarming reveal.
A labor of love begun in earnest in 2015 and completed in 2021, “False Flag Rapture” is a testament to abstract electro-acoustic music’s oft under-appreciated potential to treat deeply personal themes while connecting alienated human beings.
Born and raised in the US-American Rust Belt, and a resident of Germany for over two decades, Rrill Bell draws on the formative inspirations of radical scratch culture, Cagean thought, harmolodics, musique concréte, and various other strains of experimental music practice. Originally rooted in the world of improvisational performance, over the past decade his work has expanded to include various hybrid approaches to location recording, augmented reality, composition, and audio narrative.
In addition to 2020’s “Ballad of the External Life” LP on Elevator Bath, Rrill Bell’s music has previously been released by the Klappkart, Gertrude Tapes, Weird Forest and Denovali labels, among others.