It's been nearly two years since Safehouses, Arthur Cayzer's last EP as Pariah; a release which functioned as an all-too-short summation of everything that was exceptional in British dance music at the time. Since then, Cayzer has become one-half of Karenn alongside Blawan and turned his hand to more visceral, stomping techno. Cayzer returns here to the Pariah name, and—invariably—a sound that takes influence from both projects on Rift.
On the title track, Cayzer takes a stuttering 2-step-tinged rhythm and the ominous reverberations of an abandoned machine shop and forges them into a coherent whole, compressed by enormous subsonic cables of bass that coil violently around the track. That much of "Rift" unfolds around cymbals that sound more like gasping steam pipes than ordinary percussion only adds to the menacing effect.
While the ghostly voices of "Signal Loss" instantly recall the twisted vocal manipulations of many UK producers, the particular charm of the track is to be found in its own warped structure; loose rhythmic patterns stumble along, held in place only by the delicate touch of subtly jarring keys and abruptly whispered entreaties.
Following an unassuming start, closer "Among Those Metal Trees" gradually swells as drifting pads envelop a whale call looming out of a labyrinthine concrete jungle, recalling late '90s Swans at their most melancholy. It makes for a dark finale, in line with everything else here. Given the results, though, one can only hope Pariah doesn't find the light at the end of this shadowy tunnel just yet.