2xLP housed in heavyweight reverse-board jackets with jacket and sleeve artwork by Bryan Abdul Collins. Certain Creatures (born Oliver Chapoy) wrestles with the three marks of existence - impermanence, suffering and realisation of the non-self - throughout Vipassana, his debut album on Styles Upon Oliver’s resumé extends from the early 90’s when he was a pivotal player in Miami’s hardcore scene by way of his band, Shai Hulud, before moving into post-rock territory (Saxon Shore) and electronic pop (Warm Ghost). Since departing from Warm Ghost, however, Oliver has focused on electronics in a solo environment: His first release as Certain Creatures dropped in 2013 as part of our Bangers & Ash 12” series, providing a menacing slap of dystopian techno w/ guest vocals from Stuart Argabright. His collaboration with Stuart led to the most prominent credit in Oliver’s production career: the opportunity to produce Black Rain’s first album of new material since 1996. Dark Pool (Blackest Ever Black), heralded as Black Rain’s comeback proper, provided the best scope of Oliver’s production and compositional talent to date. With Vipassana, Oliver offers a searing discourse on the harrowing beauty of acknowledging, confronting and transcending oneself. The arc of the album is personal, conveyed to great effect through the use of Oliver’s own voice in standouts, “Colour Me In” and “Nothing Changes”, the former a deep trip through vocoded psychosis, the latter a noir pop odyssey akin to The Fragile’sfinest moments. Paul Corley (Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker, Antony) lends his revered mixing acumen to Vipassana, casting shadows across haunting features from Bonnie Baxter (ShadowBox / Kill Alters) and Jon Philpot (Bear in Heaven) on “The Suffering Seas” and “In Safety of Cold Light,” respectively. These collaborative efforts propel Vipassana to heights beyond the traditional techno album. Years of experiencing and participating in club culture have provided the groundwork for Vipassana, but it’s his compositional prowess that carries Certain Creatures’ debut album beyond the horde.
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