Ever since the release of the eponymous “Music Has The Right To Children” barely a month goes by without a misguidedly over-excited reviewer comparing some outfit or other to Boards of Canada. Almost always, it’s unjustified. Either the act in question tries to go for the same lush-yet-creepy sound in a hopelessly hamfisted way, or they manage to nail the sound but leave it devoid of that very specific atmosphere. You know, the one that makes you feel like you’re lost in space and adrift at sea simultaneously.
Babe, Terror, a one-man bedroom adventurer from Sao Paulo, is one of the few artists who can lay fair claim to that liminal territory. Though “Knights” is technically an EP, it disseminates dissasociative qualities that seem to make tracks drift for days before disappearing in seconds (its actual length is a digestible 34 minutes). Opening track “Lifantastic I” sets the tone for the rest of the record, with twisted vocal samples drifting over shifting tones and a murmuring heartbeat. Occasionally, everything seems to fold in on itself. If you don’t pay attention you might find your eyes rolling into the back of your head (even if you do pay atention you might find them spinning there regardless).
“Savagestic” seals the musical link with Warp’s Scottish duo, combining a lo-fi beat like those on “A Few Old Tracks” with reversed, layered synth tones that drift from harmony to dissonance as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Following the brief, beat-less break that is “Cleric”, “Lifantastic II” expands on the opening track’s themes, although in all honesty a combined seventeen minutes is probably overkill. Thankfully, closing track “War” adds something a bit new. The vocals sound like someone held a bottle in front of the singer’s lips, sealed it, and then recorded its contents back in the studio. Breathy beyond recognition, and refreshingly free of dischord, it leaves the listener on an uplifting zephyr. Babe, Terror has managed to nail Boards of Canada’s aura; the interesting thing will be to see where he can take it now.