While Rave At your Fictional Borders (RAYFB) might be a new name to me and, I suspect, you, the musician behind it, Dave De Rose, is someone who I have been following for some time now. I first came across him with his Agile Experiments project which came out of live guest performances with other jazz musicians at the Agile Rabbit Pizzeria in London (see here for more of the background). Since then it has seemed that Dave has been moving further away from his jazz roots as he collaborated with a broader range of musicians, something that seems to have continued in his post-pandemic move to Athens.
And it is here that he had been developing his new project, RAYFB, which he introduces here:
“I’ve been harvesting this project for over two years, some of that just in my head. Last year it finally started to come together while playing a lot with Marius Mathiszik and various combinations of fantastic sound artists in Athens. The project has a more narrow improvisation concept than Agile Experiments, we are blending the realms of dance-inducing repetition with avant-garde, ambient and techno, occasionally dabbling with an aggressive punk edge. It’s been a refreshing experience to witness the project’s output getting stronger and stronger over the year and just like with Agile Experiments, it’s the musicians we’ve recruited bringing their own flavour to the band’s sound that has made it become its own unique blend. Very excited to share these videos and the next 3 releases taking us all the way into 2024!”
I mean, based on that description, I’m sold… and I was even more when I watched/ heard the video that I am exclusively premiering here. It is from the second of two days of sessions that took place in January 2023, at Electricity Sound Studio in Athens, featuring Dave on bass and fx, with Saber Rider (keys, samplers, loops and fx), Marius Mathiszik (guitars, loops and fx), and Jan Van (drums).
I heeded Dave’s words and did not seek to compare this music to Agile Experiments, but took it as something from a completely new entity. The video here represents the second of two tracks, ‘No Border Patrol’ that is being released from the National Phantom EP, the first being available on Bandcamp (here, where you can also order an extremely limited 10” lathe cut of the EP).
Taking the two tracks in order, ‘National Phantom’ begins with a sort of melange of styles that, for me, takes a few listens to break down… there’s a sort of background radiation of jazz (as you might expect) but the matrix of different styles and sounds begin to cohere both with familiarity and as you burrow deeper into it. It is music that feels both restless and vibrant, as if it has been somehow kept in a box and suddenly been allowed to spring out.
‘No Border Patrol’ at first listen feels quite disjointed, however it almost imperceptibly gains traction to develop its own sound in your mind. Before you know it there’s something there to grab hold of and pull you along… I am finding that this happens earlier in the track with each listen. Again there is that soupçon of jazz there… and a certain free jazz aesthetic, but there’s a lot of different things going on there, as Dave mentions above… but also, for me at least, some Devo… and that can only be a good thing too.
These are a couple of really interesting tracks which suggest a great deal of promise for this new project… and with an LP coming out sometime in the not too distant future I have to say that I’m looking forward to hearing Rave At Your Fictional Borders at a more sustained level.
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