A musician acquainted with imaginative stylistic approaches, Max Rael's versatility as a producer/ musician ranges from experimenting with genres like goth, synth pop, indie, and even black metal. All washed with an experimental solvent, the London based producer now takes on his purely electronica-based moniker, Raelism. A project aimed at contriving a melody-driven form of instrumental electronic music, Freedom Within the Prison is a 5 track release resembling a close scope to the likes of Chemical Brothers and LCD Soundsystem.
The EP starts off with Rael's strongest efforts, "Pressing Against the Glass". With a catchy fast-paced foundation, the driving force in this track comes exactly from the harmonies that hover and glide along as the song progresses; a testament to the Raelism endeavor. Using the basic elements for the assist, crash cymbals, swift hi-hats and rattling side sticks prove to be great apprentices to the leading synths and keyboards that dominate the track. In "Becoming Conscious", the focus lies more on a subtle pace that resists much change up until the song's latter portion where flares of 80's reminiscent synthesizers begin to rise.
Reaching a peak, " Eight Miles Down and Falling Fast" feels just that way. Aptly titled, what was barely tapped into in the aforementioned track goes into full service here. With the prime components resembling a half-menacing 80's induced roller coaster, we even get a sense of some thrash-metal inspired keyboard strokes as the track runs its course. Slightly entrancing in its essence, Rael shows a way he can bring together different genres, plug them in, and make things work. "Perfect Dream Fades" evokes a nostalgic tone from the keyboards. Feeling like both a come down and an interlude from the previous tracks, the realms of calmness reached marks a special moment in the EP. Simple and effective, the addition of faint violin strokes give it a sense of sophisitication."The Day the Rain Stopped" runs the EP's most sinister groove. Revisiting the half-menacing tones found in the EP's third track, "Eight Miles Down and Falling Fast", things take an unexpected turn when light hearted synths take over and drive the track to new directions.
In its entirety, the Freedom Within the Prison's twists and turns are what make the thrill ever so special and engaging. Not knowing what to expect at any point just when you've thought you figured it out is something to appreciate in a time when music can sound so samey. Volting through 80's synth electronica grassroots prove to be well under Rael's forte.