Review: Cobalt Rabbit x Fox Machine Gun – Luminance (Insight Music, 2017)

The Rabbit returns…

After a short hiatus, longtime friend of Insight Cobalt Rabbit is back with a new collaboration EP with Fox Machine Gun. And the results are magnificent…

I’ve always been a little in awe of Cobalt Rabbit. He is one of those rare finds – a producer whose work really sticks with you, who you keep wanting to return to even after many listens. 2016’s ‘Isolationist EP‘ (another Insight release) was sheer, unsurpassed brilliance: a swirling cacophony of deep atmospherics and crackle-tinged gorgeousness that I still can’t put down to this day (‘Looks Like Rain’ is perhaps the most amazing two minutes of sound since Burial’s ‘In McDonalds’).

So, in true Cobalt Rabbit-style, this latest work represents an evolution of his earlier work rather than competition for it. The atmospherics are all still there, but this time CR along with experimental drum and bass producer Fox Machine Gun (whose 2015 EP ‘Hyperviolence‘ is also well worth a listen) opt to set the ambient and piano-driven beauty atop a series of quite extraordinary beat and bass patterns that evoke elements of future bass, eastern-style two-step and, at times, dubstep. The fusion of styles is quite flawless, and augments the music brilliantly.

Each track in this EP is stunning in its own right: Opener / Intro ‘Comfort’ setting the tone; eponymous track ‘Luminance’ shifting things up a gear; ‘Kaori’ (a highly atmospheric experience) snaking its way out of nowhere; ‘Dream Distance’ introducing trademark CR crackle-ambiance atop a wonderfully crunchy beat. But it is EP-closer ‘Spire’, a collaboration with Moldovan chillout producer Michael FK, that really sets the tone of this record – a truly gorgeous string / piano-driven piece of music which builds to a breathtaking crescendo and resonates with the heartstrings in a profoundly emotional way. A wonderful finish to the EP.

You can feel the talent and the care that has gone into these recordings when you listen to them. This collection represents the product of a combination of musical minds who are all at the very top of their respective games. I was extremely sad when Cobalt Rabbit announced he was taking a break from music – and elated when he announced his return. I certainly hope this will only be the first of many new endeavours. If this one is anything to go by, The Rabbit has lost none of his creative power…<3

‘Luminance’ is available now, here.