Having garnered rave reviews earlier in the year following the release of his debut long player Sleep of Reason on the Ninja Tune label, Benjamin Stefanski – AKA Raffertie – is releasing “Rain” as its second single. This young British artist was already a renowned producer, remixer (White Lies, Daedelus & Franz Ferdinand) and DJ, prior to signing to Ninja Tune in 2011, but its obvious that his ability as a composer is quite correctly taking centre stage.
“Rain” opens with a distinctive guitar chord, which is a constant presence throughout this minimalist sounding track. As soon as Raffertie’s soul fuelled vocals kick in, it’s as if you’ve been instantly transported into this world of heartache and despair. The use of a single drum beat, added to the harmonising of his own vocals, adds that little bit extra to this enticing yet dark and brooding number.
A remix of “Rain” by LA producer Teebs is up next, and he somehow manages to give this tune even more of a layered and sinister edge. At times it seems to ooze elements of static encrusted industrial beats, while the sparse vocals of Raffertie, swish in and around the laid bare instrumentation, with a ghost like aura.
The final two tracks, “Back of the Line” and “Black Rainbow” also featured on Sleep of Reason and continue in the same dark and moody, yet soulfully melancholic vein as “Rain”. There is a warbling like vocal effect, clearly evident as soon as Stefanski starts “Back of the Line”. It’s a song which clearly taps its hat to the electronic sounds of the 1980’s, as well as having a commanding percussive sound emanating until its last note. “Black Rainbow” is a title that doesn’t paint the brightest of pictures, something that isn’t helped with the anguished tones of Raffertie’s voice. However its combination of mashed up beats and slow synth like sounds, easily integrates alongside the discordant guitar chords, to help raise the initial downtrodden disposition.
This review was written for No More Workhorse