Lurking in the shadows since his 2008 LP Scylla & Charybdis, Christoph de Babalon must have been busy probing the darker areas of the soul until now. A soundsmith of the highest order, Christoph has performed at The Peel Sessions Live at Royal Festival Hall in London and been curated by Rem Koolhaus in Tokyo with Hanayo. Championed by Radiohead, released by Atari Teenage Riot, and now Kid 606 with his Tigerbeat6 debut A Bond With Sorrow, Christoph de Babalon has returned more powerful than ever, conjuring up unknown worlds.
Christoph de Babalon scrapes away the thick cloud of in-your-face fear that permeated his previous output for a more ominous landscape of subtly tense strings and pads. Swathing the slowed down breaky-beats in a meditative malaise of gradually evolving sounds, ‘Traumspiel’ is reminiscent of the recent tracks on Kuedo‘s Severant or a hardcore break’n’bass master in his Vex’d guise, who has seemingly found zen. As you come closer to the precipice in ‘Mist of Time’, the fear transitions to the sublime and you are effortlessly suspended. But Mr. de Babalon isn’t keen to keep you in the zone, as you swiftly drop and are once again pummeled with the whiplash beats of ‘A Bond With Sorrow’. A sense of dread is threaded throughout the entire album amidst the tasteful hints of Indian sitar and tabla, suggesting a revelatory state. The end is near, but there is no need to be afraid of what’s next.
Los Angeles native Brandon Rosenbluth is a promoter, booking agent and musician. He lives in Berlin and will be featuring Christoph de Babalon at his collaborative party PURGE on June 9th.
Published May 14, 2012.