On the rich, striking Corpus Vice — a full-length album available now — Boston artist Eden Rayz and her collaborators blend amplified cello, drums, flutes, clarinet, prepared vibraphone, electric guitar, and more. The album — if you couldn’t already tell — can’t be summarized within the confines of any particular genre, but it’s not just out of the ordinary: apart from those considerations, it’s utterly ensnaring and even spiritually uplifting. You don’t want to turn away when listening.
Check out the record below! First, here is a review:
It’s one of those remarkable, spiritually explosive records where each piece clashing into another seems like it sets off a burst of inwardly rejuvenating electricity, like a shock to the chest of your metaphysical body. It’s chaotic — or at least smacks of chaos during certain (not all) moments — but forceful; the music doesn’t seem lost or like it lacks guidance, and the sheer breadth of it — the record consistently shifts with thrilling unpredictability — is impressive.
The sharply cutting tones and lurching unease communicated by them dunks the whole thing in a captivating coating of swirling, destabilizing atmosphere. But captivating might be an understatement, because if you really dive into the record head-first — you can’t exactly get away from it. It’s exciting. And it feels like you’ve ended up somewhere that maybe you’re not supposed to be — and where you don’t exactly know what’s there or about to leap out. It’s more immersive than simply that though, because one could say there’s also the sense that you might look in the mirror and find something startlingly unrecognizable. Do you know what you are? Do you know what this place is? Do you know what it’s like to lose your way on an existential level, just going through the course of the day?
And that leads to where Eden Rayz embeds this musical experience. The record, she summarizes on its Bandcamp page, is a “scathing remark toward the oligarchic forces who continue to decimate the health of our oceans and planet, and toward the individuals who stand by and watch the destruction with eyes wide open and mouths sealed shut.” It’s difficult to grapple with these issues and not feel out-of-balance, like you’re automatically, urgently searching for some place of security — a search that this album chronicles on a personal and more expansive level.
Various moods make an appearance across the sprawling record’s colorful tapestry. Cello towards the latter half of “Threnody No. 1” feels mournful — but not restrained. It’s more like a rumble in the earth that evokes something — a deluge of emotion-carrying water — getting poured out.
When the record gets quieter, there’s a carefully balanced sense of seeing a bustling city scene that’s about to somehow teeter off-balance – as though a ferris wheel will fall from its bearings and roll onward… and maybe off into a void that’s opened up in front of it, while hardly anyone notices.
The emotional power in this music can’t be overstated — it’s all compelling. Across Corpus Vice, Eden Rayz incorporates remarkably smooth transitions — despite the fact there’s a lot going on, the work feels — in some way — alive, particularly during portions like the brash, elevating ambiance of “Corpus Vice, VII. Devotion.” The music grabs and shakes you, roaring in your face — and then it gently lays its listener down into a bed of leaves. Or at least, that’s how it comes across to me — it’s vibrant enough that one could imagine a range of interpretations circling around similar themes.