Rimar - Closer [EP]
Two EPs in, Brooklyn-based producer Rimar already has the kind of discography that's hard to pin down. You could label his work so far as atmospheric and point out it owes a debt to J-Dilla (what's new?), but not much else. Last summer's Higher Ground saw him offering blurry takes on 80s synth funk, bringing to mind a more introspective Toro Y Moi, while sampling Velvet Underground and Nas. But a noticeably different, forward-facing deconstruction of Mario's 2004 hit 'Let Me Love You' soon followed. Unrecognisable apart from the chipmunk chorus vocal, it suggested a dilettante's interest in the R&B reanimations recently made famous by James Blake and Nuguzunguzu.
The follow up to Higher Ground, Closer offers another unannounced turn. Made up of woozy, cinematic sketches, it's hard to call anything in its 25-minute runtime a song exactly. Everything feels intentionally unfinished and unexplained - like the offcuts from another song. 'I still feel a certain way about you' contorts an androgynous soul vocal into something halfway between ecstasy and pain over rumbling, elliptical pulses of bass, off-kilter snare snaps and a swathe of other truncated vocal samples. 'Holding on Lay deep: break' submerges the sound of a woman sobbing violently underneath a languorous guitar lick and soulful crooning. Eventually the song transitions into one of the EP's most up-tempo moments, sounding like a house track complete with frolicking keys, but a tape-reversed vocal creaks back and forth over it, retaining some of the front half's uncanniness.
When the EP does anything obvious like using voice to say something, the words only serve to put into focus the same nightmarish mood. On 'Tonight / mornings into forever', between handclaps and a stuttering kick drum, a couple talk intimately about an intense agreement of the kind that's doomed to end badly - "do you remember that pact we made? – we promised to never leave each other." Like everything else on the record, it sounds as if it's been stretched through time and filtered through several layers of consciousness. On Closer direct communication always feels provisional, sabotaged. Atmosphere is king.
So he's Burial without the garage influence then? Well, not quite. With its noirish tone and liminal atmosphere, Closer brings to mind the Lynchian hyperweird as vividly as Burial's garage-abstracting psychogeography evokes South London suburbs, but – perhaps thankfully – Rimar brings a Hip Hop producer's sensibility and craft to his work. 'It's been so long' percolates and floats in mid-air like something Clams Casino might stick on one of his instrumental tapes, while its hi-hat crackle brings to mind a mumblier Lex Luger. Through the murk and misdirection there are ample moments of groove and rhythm to cling on to.
An EP that exists somewhere in the undefined hinterlands between hip hop, R&B and dance, Closer is a record that showcases Rimar's ability with atmosphere and groove. By playing with the familiar atmospherics that are the sound of emotional sincerity in 2012, it manages to sound like the visceral, menacing subconscious behind other bedroom auteurs like How to Dress Well and confessional crooners like Drake and The Weeknd. In all probability he'll try something different soon enough, but Closer is another impressive blueprint from an emerging talent.