Roots In Heaven is a Berlin-based act that could very easily capitalize on his past accomplishments within the world of intrepid electronic music. As a label owner, resident DJ at cutting-edge clubs, and accomplished solo artist behind a number of conceptually unique full-length albums, the conceiver of this project won’t likely need any introduction to the intrepid fans of electronic music. As an extension of this artist’s already solid commitment to deep sound, Roots in Heaven represents a new voyage without the help of biographical cues to his listeners: hidden behind an evocative mesh mask lined with obsidian feathers, Roots in Heaven ignores the need to provide “social proof” or self-justification. He communicates purely through the language of concentrated sensory impression, for which reason he has titled his debut, “Petites Madeleines,” after one of the most memorable descriptive sequences in literary history (the famous meditation on the madeleine from Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu).
Built on a chassis of pure analog electronics, unaided by computers, “Petites Madeleines” presents a single sprawling track whose immersive, meditative quality initiates participants into a realm of reversed energy currents. Using a sonic technique which, for example, drapes the listener in darkness until it becomes light (and vice versa), this piece provides a pervasive feeling of other realities opening up that complement the already familiar. The looped pulses and frequency sweeps hover and expand with all the assuredness of, say, early-‘70s Cluster, but without anything consciously “retro” or overtly referential in their presentation.
Though the project is as opposed to the current trend of distortion overload as it is opposed to cults of personality, “Petites Madeleines” occasionally bristles with an abrasiveness that separates it from more patronizing experiments in raising / altering consciousness. As feedback drones and anxious percolations snake their way around the base structure of pulses and subterranean thumps, there is a feeling of challenge or self-confrontation that should be acomponent of any truly serious spiritual quest. As listeners successfully confront and assimilate these somewhat harsher moments, the cosmic tapestry being woven by Roots in Heaven becomes all the more vibrant and charged with deeply personalized meaning (which again makes the purpose of the mask clear: focusing attention away from the creator in order to fully develop the listeners’ spiritual faculties). By the time this hour-long excursion ends, all the constituent sound elements seem to hum and vibrate in unison, allowing listeners to find a whole world within this recording just as Proust found a world within his tea and madeleines.
As a prelude to the first full-length, Roots In Heaven has issued an untitled EP as a resounding ‘shot across the bow’. However, this record is no half-conceived experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, nor does it even feel like an “EP” (in the traditional meaning of being a précis whose full report is available elsewhere). Attentive listening to its contents can cause a kind of time dilation, and a mysterious feeling of entering a world where familiar dualities (nature vs. technology, action vs. contemplation) are replaced by a feeling of total immanence. The A-side, “Sang des Betes”, accomplishes this with cascading, viscous layers of electronic tones that narrow and widen, rise and fall like the breath of some ancient entity. Periodically, bright flashes of tone arc across the horizon of the sound space, emphatically present but also elusive.
The flipside, “Affaire des Rats” goes in a different direction sonically without straying from the A-side’s feeling of immensity, and of the transition between states of matter and states of being. Underpinned by a simple cardiac rhythm and overlaid with a deceptively tranquil layer of white noise, “Affaire…” is another fascinating survey of a world where the artificial and organic can no longer be easily distinguished from one another. As with the A-side, swathes of pure electronic tone arc and fall across a darkened plain, complemented by echoing, full-throated drones. Listeners will enjoy this EP as a challenging response to an electronic music world that too often ignores the more fertile creative ground in between the polar extremes of anemic ‘healing’ music and aimless assaults on the nervous system.
Sang des Betes / Affaires des Rats [EP]
May 26th, 2017, pre-order > Zehnin.lnk.to/RIHEP
Petites Madeleines [LP]
June 16th, 2017, pre-order > Zehnin.lnk.to/RIHLP
– Sleepover Nidra Session @ De School (Amsterdam, NL) – June 22
– Mugako Festival (Vitoria, ES) – Oct 14
– Lunchmeat Festival (Prague, CZ) – Oct 19