Cerebral d’n’b with paranormal activity
Oliver Rhodes, aka Paracusia, makes a sound that looms in a murky late-night interzone, where minimalist drum ’n’ bass melds with darkly ambient experimentalism. Involved at the experimental fringes of d’n’b and jungle since the age of 15, he played sets at 90s showcase nights in the south-west featuring forward-thinking labels like Reinforced, Metalheadz and Rugged Vinyl. After a decade-long stint in the Antipodes learning his trade as a producer, he returned to the UK with fresh appetite and now resides near Bristol.
Because his inspiration comes from deep, intriguing places and is redolent with an ambiguous, dark-hued quality. The name Paracusia refers to hallucinations that involve perceiving sounds without auditory stimulus. It’s a concept that fits perfectly, especially in relation to that woozy post-club small hours vibe where Rhodes’ work feels best suited.
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Rhodes fell out of love with drum ’n’ bass post-millennium and admits himself that he lost his mojo for a while. “I was reinvigorated by the early dubstep thing around 2006 and the work of artists like Burial and Shackleton,” he explains. There are shades of both those innovators in his current, voodoo-dark ‘Fallen Spirits’ EP, which brilliantly incorporates field-recorded interviews from the Caribbean and South Pacific where ghost stories were recounted. “While in New Zealand my girlfriend interviewed a dear friend of ours who is Samoan, and I was deeply moved by her very sincere belief in ‘spirits’ and their perceived ability to possess people,” Rhodes explains. “This woman was in tears while telling her story, which got me wondering about that collective belief in her concentrated island community, that actually makes the case for possession subjectively real.” Real or not, you can truly feel all of that singular energy on ‘Fallen Spirits’, which journeys to places few beat-forward producers would ever dare tread.
‘Fallen Spirits’ is out on Bandcamp