Keith Rankin’s project, Giant Claw, has consistently made some of the best, weirdest electronic music out there over the last few years. I said recently that I wished he’d make all the video game music in the world, ever, and I’m not joking. There’s something about the rapid-fire neon spew (w/ just enough austere coldness to keep it from becoming kitschy or anything resembling it) that works in that context in my brain. With that in mind to see Rankin releasing something called Music For Film, on the excellent Constellation Tatsu, caught me off-guard. Initially I thought it would be similar to his usual releases, music for dystopian sci-fi chase scenes, stuff like that. Ah but Giant Claw is far from a one-trick pony. Music For Film is an impressive collection, varied and cohesive, bubbling with texture like somber ghosts waiting for their ranks to grow as the world dies out. Chiming bells infest one of the standouts, “Fear of the Dark,” while muted, manipulated voices are butchered into a beautiful, morose choir.
The pair of “Piano Synthesize Etude I & II” are are close as this set gets to the video game chicanery I mentioned previously, but it’s a totally different side of that coin. This is soundtracks for the cut scenes in The Legend of Zelda, short and sweet and corralled by fantasy horizons, points of light in a staunchly opaque affair. One of the other stunners, “Last Empress in Dread,” plays in this dominion as well, but with a decidedly darker flavor. “Orange Milk (Excerpt)” ventures into territories shared by Rankin’s Orange Milk label co-host, Henry Dawson, like there’s a glitch in the system trying to bring him down (and obviously fitting that the track would have said title) whereas “Century of Shame I & II” are discordant, the score to automated torture.
It’s a mystery to me why Keith Rankin isn’t a household name in the world of electronic music. It’s a fucking shame, but if Music For Film tells us anything it’s that he’s still got a million tricks up his sleeve. Years from now the world at large will know.