Ambitious, complex and hooky breakthru opus by NW english rapper/producer/songwriter Rainy Miller, issued by The White Hotel’s Head II label and featuring contributions from Space Afrika, Blackhaine, Maxwell Sterling, Jam City, Georgia Ellery, Henzo and more. Highly emotive and bruised gear, it’s essential listening if yr into Future, Chief Keef, Drake, more eaze, Rabit, Wayne Phoenix, Iceboy Violet, Kanye, Burial…
No doubt it’s the most cinematic depiction of what makes Rainy tick, with a choral prologue that sounds like a Burial vignette, precipitating a downpour of emotions that veer from tender to seething bass-boosted drill blowouts. The slippery combo of self-skewering and tearful Autotuned vocals and brittle, barely-present electronics immediately and inarguably recall Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak, but here refracted into greyscale tales of Northern introspection, confidently torched 'n bleary-eyed industrial experiments.
Miller's best known at this point for his work with his college compatriot Tom Heyes (aka Blackhaine), whose ragged drill/power electronic subversions loom large over "Desquamation". But where Heyes zeroes in on viscera, isolation and substance-fueled rage, Miller's compositions are more pensive, melancholy and emotionally fluid, finding hopefulness in supposedly grim terrain on tracks like 'There's A Fiesta MkII On Fire'. "A Fiesta burns bright," he sings, accenting the last word as it collapses into chattering electronics and snatched Rhodes piano loops. It's a glorious amalgamation of influences, folding grime and ambient signals into something altogether new. From here, Miller pushes even further into the abyss, enlisting Space Afrika and Maxwell Sterling to assist on 'Breath, Sigh', a powerful symphony of sheet noise, ice-cold pads and soulful electric piano weaving around Miller's vulnerable voice.
On 'July Iii', the beats are reduced to pinpricks, heaving listlessly between stolen breaths and punctuated kick blasts, ‘while Misery is as Misery Does' revels in negative space, allowing overdriven pads to evoke an anxious tenor for Rainy’s melancholia. 'is 2 Die' grazes the same mood before erupting into a wrecking-ball roll of distorted kick drums and elegiac synths, and Blackhaine shows up on 'Way Out', the pair following 2020's breakout "Armour" with a corrosive back-and-forth, playing to each others' strengths.
Benefiting massively from repeat listens, ‘Desquamation' is an absorbing, deliriously atmospheric re-definition of drill, ambient and rap modes with bare north west soul; an arresting portrait of an ascendant artist attempting to find comfort in their artistic skin, and effectively broadcasting the malaise, uncertainty and future shock of the British working class thru this f*cking grim time of ours.