Pat Grossi, better known as subtle electronica artist Active Child, is a ginger, and therefore, I am under a loyalty oath to love and support every single move he makes. So far, he’s made that astonishingly easy. Active Child combines a stunning voice with blindingly holy-white synths, creating smooth, easy waves of sound that swirl into the stream of consciousness. The latest release from our fiery-headed icon, the ‘Rapor’ EP is, for the most part, a fucking fantastic continuation of Active Child’s 2011 debut record.
Now, the opener for the EP is one of the greatest things you have heard in a long, long time. Its like Latin Gregorian Chant getting reworked by God himself, y’know, like #PearlyGatesRemix. There’s an urgent nature to the vocals, which are compromised of manipulated howls, and the plucking strings attend this urgency with movie-like dramatacism. Listening to this feels like running through a forest with Daniel Day-Lewis, whilst Morrissey chases you, berating you for eating meat, or using paper or something. The follow-up from this ‘Subtle’ continues that urgent feeling, maybe not to such extreme effect, but definitely still mesmerising. And Mikky Echo guesting adds some nice pop flavour to the track, that could others be very two-dimensional.
‘Feeling Is Gone’ is another fantastic track, soothing night-beats washing over Grossi’s excellent vocals. Listening to this track is like having a montage of Morgan Freeman dying, that’s how much it tugs on the heart strings. ‘Silhoutte’ is another tear-jerker, however the piano and strings seem a bit overkill-ish. Luckily, the electro-pop princess of the moment before Icona Pop, Ellie Goulding, makes a very warm appearance on the track, providing some tip-toeing vocals. However, the song does feel like a bit of a duet for a Christmas Charity single or something, the ‘find your way home’ chorus, coming off very cliched and uninspired in comparison to Active Child’s other work.
‘Calling in the Name of Love’ brings back the vibes of pop, and its so good that the cliche drippings that were so inert in ‘Silhouette’, are nearly forgotten. ‘Calling In the Name of Love’ is still guilty of perhaps being a bit self-indulgent, but there’s a lot more energy from Grossi this time round, and the simple icy claps and shiny synths bring it to a bit more of a basic and understandable level, something more related to his earlier work. Final track ‘Evening Ceremony’ finishes the EP off strong, emanating a James Blake-with-muscles vibe, which of course means that it still sounds fragile as fuck, but not as wispy and glassy as ‘Retrograde’. That’s a good thing by the way, as Active Child will be able to thankfully establish that you can wring out a nice, downtempo electro track without sounding like you’re about to be carried away by a light breeze.
Overall, besides some of the mushiness that gets a bit too prolific in the middle of the EP, Active Child proves that he’s back again, and his music holds a unique trademarked sign of honesty and blissfulness.