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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Rapoon - The Fires Of The Borderlands [Zoharum - 2014]

Originally released in 1998 The Fires Of The Borderlands, is seen as an ambient classic & one of the highlights of this respected  ethno-ambient/ ambient projects large discography. This  2014 double CD reissue appeared on the great ambient/ experimental label Zoharum, and presents the original album with a unreleased live recording from 1996.

The two discs come in six panel digipak, &  this takes in cave painting artwork from the albums original issue, along with some minimal texts. The album first appeared in 1998 on Release Entertainment( the ambient/ noise sub-label of respected & long running us metal label Relapse Records)- which between the late 1990ís & early 2000ís released more than a few classic/ respected releases  from the likes of Merzbow, Robert Rich, Lull, The Haters and  many others.

The originally album consists of eleven tracks- these each run between the four & thirteen minute mark, with most of the tracks been fairly short ( by ambient standards). The whole album has a running time of sixty seven & a half minutes, and is created with a mix of synths, morphed & melted instrumental elements/ vocals.
Unlike a fairly large potion of this  project work most of the  tracks here remain beat-less, and are mainly built around moody & slowly shifting multi layered drone constructions, which play out simply yet very atmospherically effective slow-mo melodies.  Fitting the albums title & the red desert like cave paintings of the cover the vibe here is very mystical, times-less, and vast in itís sound like the sonic soundtrack to a treking across some vast & people-less desert landscape.  With the mood subtle shifting from bright yet hazed vast-ness, onto more moody & dark, through to slowly majestic & mysterious.

Though-out the whole albums length one remains totally captivated by the journey Rapoon takes you on over itís  11 tracks, and each is perfectly sequenced into the next- meaning the best way to hear this album is in one sitting.

The second disc takes in a 38 minute long live set- this was recorded in San Francisco on the  20 July 1996. It comes in the form of a single lengthy track that offers up slowly morph slice of trance inducing ethno-ambient. The track moves from dense & mysterious weaves of swirling ambient, compressed & locked down tabular percussion, and a chirping/ glittering textures. Through to stretched ethic flute simmer that itís pulled into rich & vast drifts of ambience. Onto dense blends  of locked down ethnic percussion which are edged with moody yet compressed ambience, and beyond. On the whole itís a consistent & attention keeping long  form  live set, that nicely compliments the original album.


Iíll have to admit Iíve found what Iíve heard from this project in the past more than a little mixed, but as itís so prolific that canít be help. But there is little doubt that this certainly is a classic of the ambient/ drone genre, and one of the best things Iíve heard from Rapoon.  The reissue came in a edition of 500 copies, which isnít really many considering how highly this album is thought of in ambient circles- so I recommended if your going to picking it up, Iíd do it sooner that later, as I donít think these will last long!.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Roger Batty
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