- Orange Rabbit, Decay: The PTSD Project DELUXE
A drone, not unlike a screwdriver being softly but insistently pressed against the base of the skull, issues from the speaker. Voices overtake the drone: a father and mother making excuses for their pet snake, which has just eaten their son, Zac. Slowly, the voices and drone give way to waves of sound and, eventually, to a beat, hammering away like a piston. It all breaks down into a wash of distorted guitar and chiming bells, like a canvas ripped apart rather than painted upon.
Thus begins what might possibly be a concept album, if anyone is able to piece together the fractured narrative that experimental outfit Orange Rabbit might be presenting. Decay: The PTSD Project DELUXE is a sprawling sound collage of electronic and industrial music that is sometimes frenetically dissonant, sometimes strangely funky.
Opening track "The Death of Zac Iraiasu Nemesu: Beginning of Decay," provides some of the only lyrical content from which to glean meaning from the album's 18 songs. Following the tragic ending of young Zac to the jaws of his parents' pet snake, um, Jaws, Orange Rabbit go full instrumental. We don't hear human voices again until the final track, "Pets or Meat."
That song's lyrics don't provide many more narrative hints, however. The sound of dogs barking gives way to another drone, a bookend to the first track, perhaps, while an audio clip plays. This time the conversation is between a man and a woman about the rabbits she raises. "If you don't sell them as pets, you gotta get rid of 'em as meat," the woman says as the drone starts to splinter, like a broken shaft of light, and notes creep in. "These guys are all meat," the woman concludes.
A ribbon of bleakness runs through Decay. Even without absurdist or horrific sound clips, the songs have a shattered feel. Beats appear and disappear seemingly at random and are often so distorted or delayed that they startle more than establish a groove. Tracks such as "Memories and Distant Realities" and "Clip His Identity, Pt. 1: Realization of Decay" have synthwave influences but without that neon, shimmering effect one hears on a Tangerine Dream record. Orange Rabbit reside more in the territory of Darkstep, a sub-genre of drum and bass.
The album pushes on in a sort of Dante's Inferno fashion, with songs following Zac's passage through the afterlife. "A Moment of Peace in the Cold Arms of His Creation After Accepting Fate: Completion of Decay" seems to wrap up the boy's journey, though six tracks remain as a sort of epilogue.
Sonically, Decay is more punishing as it progresses, culminating in the penultimate track "Full Control," which is essentially a two-and-a-half-minute digital fart. It's no easy-listening project, but it's clear that Orange Rabbit are going for something. What that might be is tougher to ascertain.
Stream Decay: The PTSD Project DELUXE at orangerabbit.bandcamp.com.