Sound Advice: Raime at Gray Area

Raime performs at the Gray Area Theater in San Francisco on Saturday, Oct. 15.

What do the distant, icy, nervous guitars of classic American post-punk and -rock (think Shellac, Slint) have in common with the booming, cavernous bass swells of Bristolian electronic dub (think Portishead, Smith & Mighty)? More than you might think, according to U.K. duo Raime.

Raime have made a career out of sussing out the darkness inherent in the spaces between things. In their music, what's left behind -- what isn't present -- is almost more important than what is. 

Their first works (a series of 12"s that culminated in their first album, Quarter Turns Over a Living Line) are operatic in their murk; bursts of sparse, sample-based percussion are arranged against macabre drones and atmospheres. Doom and dread were inherent qualities of bass music since the beginning, but Raime made them explicit.

Then came a self-titled EP as a side project called Moin; here, the duo brought angular guitars to the front of the mix and added live drums, maintaining the maleficent mood of their early material while moving away from dub, towards punk. The shift seemed curious at first, but proved a portent of what was to come.

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Tooth, Raime's latest album, released this year after a three-year silence following the Moin EP, synthesizes these two halves into a whole. Deep, weighty sub-bass is the backdrop against which flits of guitar (and even the occasional vocal) are set; Raime seem intent on forging entirely new territory.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, Raime perform live at Gray Area's theater in the Mission. They'll perform dubwise selections from Tooth and beyond, set to their own full-scale visual accompaniment. Supporting is Stave, a corroded techno project from Jonathan Krohn, an artist with deep roots in Chicago's outré guitar music scene, plus Grebenstein and Layne, two new acts on the vaunted greyscale techno label Downwards Records.

 

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