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Star of the Year: Rabit

Houston producer with a Björk-approved debut

  • Selim Bulut
  • 17 December 2015
Star of the Year: Rabit

Back in May, Rabit played in New York for acclaimed underground label Tri Angle Records' fifth birthday party alongside labelmates The Haxan Cloak, Evian Christ, and Lotic – not to mention Icelandic superstar Björk, who performed a secret DJ set while wearing a mask.

"It was rejuvenating," explains 32-year-old experimental producer Eric Burton, down the phone from his home in Houston, Texas. "Just to have the support from so many people and to see them in one place."

Burton's debut LP, 'Communuion', is radical, post-apocalyptic club music, in which grime melodies and Jersey club rhythms mesh with coarse textures and screeching industrial beats.

Burton grew up on the East Coast before moving to Texas aged 21. He was brought up in a Catholic household, which as a non-religious gay man was often tough – though he stresses that many grew up in "more twisted situations" than his own. Before making music, he was a prolific graffiti artist, but gave it up as costs started to spiral. "It became really expensive to keep getting arrested," he jokes.

Inspired by Madlib and Pete Rock, he dived headfirst into prouction. Later, he discovered the grime scene and producers like Zomby and Burial, which felt like an extension of the dark electronic acts like Massive Attack, Portishead, and Björk that he listened to as a teen. Now, it's Björk who's a fan: earlier this year she asked Burton to remix 'History of Touches' from her album 'Vulnicura'. She also offered him advice on finishing his own album, encouraging him to look at it as a body of work rather than a collection of songs. "I don't think you could find many people in this type of music to get better advice from," he says.

Next year will see Rabit develop his label, Halcyon Veil, which has put out records from fellow nonconformists Why Be and ANGEL-HO. The mainstream is listening: 'Communion' cracked Billboard's dance/electronic albums chart when it was released. "It's cool!" Burton exclaims with a laugh, "I didn't know there were that many freaks out there who cared."

Top Rabit moments of the 2015

'Hex'

A nuclear winter grime track from Rabit's 'Baptizm' EP

Rabit & Chino Amobi 'The Great Game: Freedom From Mental Poisoning'

Online mix that captures Rabit's dark, ultra-futuristic industrial sound

Björk 'History of Touches' (Rabit remix)

Haunted avant-electronica

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