Thursday, September 29, 2022

Album Review: Joe Rainey - Niineta

Joe Rainey
**** out of *****

The opening track of Joe Rainey's full-length debut for 37d03d Records, is titled "jammer from the slammer" and features a Pow Wow singer delivering his craft from lockup. Niineta moves from their as the vocalist builds layers of soundscapes along with producer Andrew Broder (Fog). 

The partnership between Rainey and Broder results in an interesting amalgamation of audio efforts throughout the full-length effort. Rainey is a member of the Red Lake Nation of Ojibwe people and has been recording pow wow gatherings most of his life. Working with Broder, Rainey sings and samples, interweaving electronica with the spiritual chants, forming a new artistic whole.  

Perhaps the the most stark entry is "easy on the circle" which begins with a joking comment before absolutely earth shaking drums and bass fall into a thunderous march. Whooshing synths enter the context, then eerie piano before chanting vocals take over and drive the song forward all the while those bomb dropping drums continue their death march; it is a powerfully affecting number. 

"no chants" has spiritual metal feeling of acts like Sun0))) or Lightning Bolt using brutal low end with complementing chants while "b.e. son" vibrates on a lighter level with layers of singing/chanting, strings and warbling production. "can key" has the cleanest Pow Wow vocals with also a spoken word piece placed in the center before a swelling dramatic string finale. "turned engine" featuring Allie Bearhead begins soothing before turning cataclysmic where as elongated closer "phil's offering" goes full on on repetitive EDM in spirit for the eleven minute complete with rain water extended outro.  

Not everything works perfectly "bezhigo" is overloaded with so much sounds, from samples of pow wow singing to distorted synths, strings and industrial clanging, it can never settle down while the circular drumming/sampling of "ch 1222" clashes with the piano and soothing singing.  However, experiments like the almost hip-hop groove of clapping/chanting/swelling "jr. flip" is worth all the mixing and matching of styles. 

Niineta can be a soft tone poem or a raging war cry as the songs bend and shift the singing and sounds in fascinating ways. Avant-garde, experimental and interesting Joe Rainey and Andrew Broder have crafted a listen that will make you sit up and take notice. 
What a cool random bandcamp find. Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below. 

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