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Listen: Wise Blood – Rat King

11 April 2013, 17:56 | Written by Sam Briggs

After withdrawing from the public spotlight for the past year, Pittsburgh producer Christopher Laufman, better known as Wise Blood returns to the fray to announce his debut LP and its first single, both released on Dovecote Records.

With music publications the world over prostrating themselves at his feet over his 2011 EP, These Wings, Laufman went silent. The steady flow of freaky, abstracted, lo-fi pop collages ran dry, and with one Twitter post of a Vanessa Carlton video, he was gone. According to his press release, he’s been caught up recording a scrapped debut, and pursuing “schemes that caught him up in some legal trouble”, which screams “don’t ask”.

But a few weeks ago, Laufman emerged quietly, with a new hairdo, holding a baby, in the company of some long haired, low-voiced, middle-agers. And now, the mysterious “ID” that heralded the end of that teaser trailer is confirmed to be the title of the debut LP that Laufman’s happier to share with the wider public. He describes the album as ”a snapshot of thoughts and experiences from a three month period in 2012 played out in a single day”, and his attempt to emulate his idols by turning inwards to create an self sufficient sonic universe that he could inhabit all alone. For an artist whose sampling style is so intrinsically linked to other people’s music, down to the Flannery O’Connor referencing moniker for the project, it’s a brave step.

The first taster of this world, ‘Rat’, certainly strikes a different chord. Bursting into life with the warble of a saxophone, it’s a playful, foolish anthemic pop song, built on dumb optimism and the lazy lilt of the hip-hop influenced beat. It’s a long way from Laufman’s previously hypnotic collation, but perfectly content with its woozy West Coast 90′s vibe. The track’s protagonist is hallucinated in the same vivid colour as the track’s production, with his:

little eye patch and an iron fist, if you really piss him off, he’ll come looking for you. He’s got a whole group of friends, twenty more than I do.

Despite it’s conclusion that “At the end of the day, I know the Rat King is boss”, it’s an easily digestible track that oozes confidence in its own right, and an intriguing turn.

id is due 25 June, on Dovecote Records, and is co-produced by Nicolas Vernhes (Black Dice, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors). Stream ‘Rat’ for yourself below:

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