When Rifa, on Elevator Monkey (Prison Soup, a French netlabel), isn’t channeling Tom Waits (“Penetrate”), or ramming a disco chestnut through a carton of cigarettes disguised as a granular synthesizer (“Don’t Rush”), it makes for some bracing electronic music. “Timewarp” presents a uniquely staunch take on dub, with a beat that’s little more than a struck match and a compulsory echo that could be approximated with an old coffee can. Rifa humanizes the environs on “Timewarp” with a breathy trip-hop diva, and does the same on “M1,” but that track has a more elegantly rattled rhythm, slipping up on occasion in a manner too low key to be truly called glitch. “Tapemeserios” is of a piece with those tracks, but it also sounds like it was recorded on the Orient Express, with a contact microphone glued to the undercarriage; it’s both fuller and noisier. And then there’s “Bing1,” the album’s finest track, which blends in some hip-hop, but also messes with the rhythms as if the whole composition had been laid on a shifting bed of ball bearings. Rifa is described by Prison Soup as an Austrian musician and a member of a collective called Loop Logo. Download the full Elevator Monkey set for free at prisonsoup.com. More info on Rifa, albeit in German, at looplogo.com.
Postscript: This brief write-up originally had incorrectly listed the title of “Bing1” as “Bling1” and drawn conclusions about its hip-hop flavor from said misreading. Apologies for the error.