Rorschach tests, more commonly known as ink blots, are visuals designed to elicit interpretation by subjects in a myriad of ways. Similarly, the up-and-coming musical duo of the same name (spelled differently) has a sound fused from so many branches of electronic music that it’s really up to the listener to interpret just what genre the group falls under. However you want to categorize it, Ror-Shak’s debut album Deep is excellent, with only a couple of songs I couldn’t get into.
One of the reasons Ror-Shak sounds so good is because it was founded by two electronic music elites as the culmination of over two decades of collective experience on the dance music scene. DB is a prolific Brooklyn-based DJ who spent time as a consultant at Profile Records and has 20 years of record-spinning experience in New York clubs. The other half of the band, DJ Stakka, started as an NYC DJ in the late ’80s and has been producing drum and bass music since the early ’90s.
The album Deep has a number of great songs, but a few stand out in my mind as truly buzzworthy. The first is “A Forest.” As a fan of Robert Smith, I immediately recognized this tune as a cover of the 1980 Cure song of the same name. This update does justice to an old favorite of mine, with particular praise going to the unexpected and engaging vocals of Chantal Claret. “Golden Cage,” an original song featuring the vocals of Julee Cruise, is another of my favorites. The song begins with a crackling vinylized intro and soon morphs into a smooth bass groove with space-age bleeps and lush pads, reminiscent of sounds off Air’s Moon Safari album. Cruise’s jazzy vocals complement the nuanced layering of instruments brilliantly.
Another great song is “Fate or Faith,” again featuring Julee Cruise. The gliding vocals and soft, echoey synth parts, combined with an up-tempo drum groove make “Fate or Faith” the star of the album. I ended up listening to this song more times than any sane person should, but it’s just that damn good. Deep is a great addition to any electronic music fan’s collection. When I say electronic, however, beware; this is by no means “Sandstorm” or “Castles in the Sky” – you’ll probably actually like this.