Owen Rabbit – “Holy Holy”
By Carolyn VAllejo
The thing about musicians that use more than traditional instruments to make their sound is that they are more like craftsmen than they are singer-songwriter-producers. One assumes that sometimes, sounds and notes are put together with extreme precision, and other times, there’s a random clink of glass or the timber of wood that suddenly demand to be incorporated into a track.
That’s sort of what Melbourne, Australia’s Owen Rabbit sounds like he’s been doing. He released his newest song “Holy Holy” a few weeks ago, and it’s a poignant demonstration of the mix between a strategic approach to production, and a fluid one.
His vocals, for instance, are strategic: smooth in some parts, terrifying in others, deliberate in their decision to waver in pitch. And there’s a steadiness to the beat on “Holy Holy,” heavy and constant. But there is an unsteadiness to the track’s composition, like through the slur or vibrato of the synthesizer, or a spacey twinkle that adds a bit of chaos over the slow, fixed tempo.
Where Owen Rabbit’s vocals are dark and rhythmic, more like recited prose than song, the music is digital and warped, like a melted record or a twisted up tape or maybe even a track played backwards. He’s one of those musicians that paints with sound, and the finished piece is something we haven’t seen before. Surrealist paintings don’t necessarily make sense, at least by everyday standards, yet the piece is rooted in something familiar and recognizable. “Holy Holy” is like such a painting, with a beat as steady as a melted ticking clock.
The sound is for people who like TV On the Radio and the way Kyp Malone manipulates sound, or for fans who appreciate the way Radiohead’s Thom Yorke brought together industrial noise with rich vocals and intensely dark lyrics, or for followers of FKA Twigs’ lush voice over simple and heavy mechanics.