Review Summary: Pariah moves out of the shadows of his peers, and forges his own unique identity in the process
Comparisons are a funny thing. On one hand, they hold more merit and power than a thousand internet bloggers could ever hope to conjure, and yet at the other end of the spectrum they can be the source of great derision for the artist currently in the firing line. There is no greater enemy than the faceless reviewer who in some bemused gesture in clarification will spout out perceived similarities in artist X's music with what artist Y has already been toying with; I mean I'll admit that I'm as guilty as the next guy because for lack of actually going into meticulous and minute details, it effectively gets the job done with the most minimal amount of ease. That's not to say that I've ever come across a comparison that was so obviously ineffectual and haphazardly thought up that I've wanted to track the reviewer in question down and drag him around by the scruff of his crinkled shirt until he gets the right idea, its just that they never do the artist in question justice or any favors. Its not to say that lazy comparisons don't get the job done, as I'm sure comparing any artist to a favored messiah within the same genre will cause you to rush out with expectant glee until you're salivating over a physical copy clutched tightly in your sweaty paws, but what caused you to do that; did the music/artist sound interesting in its own right, or are you just happy to know that there are other torch bearers carrying on the work of that one special progenitor? I'm sure every artist slaving away in the wee hours is always happy to be compared to such “superstars” but I'm sure they'd rather be remembered for their own input, rather than a shadow of a great.
Working under the moniker of Pariah, Arthur Cayzer, who in the shortest possible time span imaginable, has already achieved the high accolade of being compared to James Blake and that most mysterious of street wanderers, the always hot topic Burial. Already revealed as influences on his work, the comparisons are warranted to a degree, albeit in small amounts. Like Blake and Will Bevan, Pariah's tracks are incredibly vocal centric, which allows for a much more personal and humbling experience. But Cayzer's vocal's (for the most part) remain untouched by studio trickery; they're allowed to breathe and swell in their confinement than be locked away in the tumbles and layers that makes up Burial's most triumphant moments. The same applies to the Blake comparison, who makes a living twisting vocal samples inside out, stretching them to breaking point before dissecting them. The only true moment of recognition of his peers lies in the vocals for opener 'The Slump'. Coiled within its bouncy and vibrant bursts of bass, muffled voices conjure up that feeling of voices in the walls, words uttered somewhere between here and the other world.
Musically, Cayzer exists in his own plain in respect to his apparent genre. His tapping and apparent grooming as the figurehead of post dubstep (a genre I jokingly mentioned as becoming a legitimate laughing point not so long ago) is remarkably incredulous given his frivolous attempts at conforming to the current staples of the sound. For the briefest of moments in highlight 'Railroad' does he descend into a limped lockstep, but his music's too free flowing and bouncy to warrant the placement. If IDM artists ever decided to lighten up and have a laugh, then Pariah would more than likely end us as their poster boy. His music's too exquisitely layered with bursting synths; he melds in a pastiche of acid drenched house, mile a minute backbeats and (in some cases) full blown ambiance. At times he mars ecstasy rave with turn of the century garage and sends it through a dancefloor loop, going for broke with his sampled vocals in some form of demented time warp and digitized anthem call; such is the case with the manic 'Crossed Out'.
Unlike Blake who uses his percussion as mere place makers, Cayzer's are the very foundation to his music. Aside from the title track which descends into full murky and windswept ambiance, every track's lifeblood is attached to every sharp beat and crisp hit, the most evidence provided on track 'C-Beams', which ends up as a kind of urban decay meets plugged in hip hop collision. For all the comparisons Cayzer's music manages to stand on its two feet as something refreshingly joyous; its a romanticized nostalgic look back at a more colorful period that ever so slowly gave rise to a genre so now drenched in filth and grime. Almost to simple to be so ingenious, Pariah has crafted six impeccably explosive tracks to be explored and analyzed to the point of exhaustion, which at conclusion will only reveal one more gifted musical engineer whose only want was to craft beats to express his admiration for music as a whole. The flawless switch between different feels and styles reveals an expert touch sorely lacking in many of his contemporaries and reveals just how far Pariah has come since last year's single 'Detroit Falls' – the fact that the same man who, with just that one track typed on his resume has released this, one of the most unassuming yet addictive EPs of the year, is no less than astounding.