1. Song of the Soul (08:09)
2. All is Grace (03:21)
3, Après Le Temps (03:13)
4. Procession (05:11)
5. The Bright Field (03:07)
6. Suspended on a Cross (03:49)
7. A Crowd of Stars (03:10)
8. Repentance/Sama (12:04)
9. After the End (02:33)
10. Before the Ending of the Day (09:23)
Limited to 150 copies worldwide.
“Beauty will save the world” is a quote from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and is the first release in 20 years from this secretive, cryptic English band whose last release was 1995’s Paradis. The band takes their name from a terrorist group mentioned in passing in Luis Buñuel’s 1977 film That Obscure Object of Desire and create an experimental brand of apocalyptic folk that makes use of field recordings, poetry readings, and film samples. LPs and cds are forthcoming from Occultation Recordings.
One of music’s most elusive and enigmatic acts is lifting the veil (a fraction) to launch their new album, Beauty Will Save the World, on Occultation Recordings.
For three decades, the reclusive Revolutionary Army of The Infant Jesus (RAIJ) have confounded musical classification and studiously declined every invitation to explain their unique form of musical and artistic experimentation.
Initially, the Liverpool outfit built their reputation on their extraordinary immersive multi-media performances combining multiple layers of visual imagery, elements of ritual, enigmatic samples, field recordings, and mesmeric live music.
Their cult status was further reinforced with the release of the now much sought-after two studio albums The Gift of Tears (1987) and Mirror (1990) and two EP collections, Liturgie Pour La Fin Du Temps (1992) and Paradis (1995). After an 18-year hiatus, the appearance of a new album, and the apparent relaxation of their strict vow of silence, RAIJ are generating predictable excitement and expectancy. Beauty Will Save the World does not disappoint. RAIJ’s intoxicating mix of ethereal beauty, dazzling soundscapes, and oblique mystery reach new levels of intensity and subtlety. The album title – a quote from Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky – is one of the many literary, cinematic, and spiritual references underpinning RAIJ’s unexpected comeback. Founder members Paul Boyce, Jon Egan, and Les Hampson are joined by a fresh wave of collaborators and have crafted an album of unique beauty and originality. Prolonged silence seems to have deepened rather than dimmed their creative impulse.
As ever, it is the breadth of musical genres, cultural references, borrowings, and retrieved sounds that define the RAIJ aesthetic, but there is also a more consistently meditative and melodic strain that underpins the album’s integrity and purpose. In a rare insight into the RAIJ’s creative method, Jon Egan explains:
“Although our work takes elements and inspiration from many disparate sources, we have never viewed it as deconstruction. We are looking for the thread that connects every manifestation of beauty, however fragile, transitory, and seemingly accidental. ”
In addition to the album release on Occultation, RAIJ’s second coming also includes a live performance at this year’s Greenbelt Festival and the re-release on vinyl of The Gift of Tears by California-based label Feral Sounds.
“There is renewed interest and appreciation of our music and that’s great,” said Leslie Hampson. “We have never tried to cultivate obscurity or anonymity, we simply wanted to avoid having to explain and justify a creative process that isn’t necessarily premeditated. Isn’t it enough to listen to and experience it?”