As an artist, you often work for years without a significant amount of people paying attention to you. This is a double-edged sword of course, as an artist often craves the attention of the public and needs their support to survive, but simultaneously needs space to develop their craft without public pressures weighing them down. Over the last 5 years or so Parabyl has steadily been developing from an underground bedroom producer into someone who gets his single dropped on 5FM the day of the release.
The release of his third album Dispersion, seems like a coming-of-age moment for Parabyl. The other day someone on Twitter asked “What classifies an album nowadays?” Parabyl replied simply stating “artist intent”. With Dispersion, it seems Parabyl’s intent is to be taken seriously. To throw his hat in the ring as one of those artists you pay attention to and you should. While Parabyl’s earlier releases dropped amongst a fair amount of fanfare, significantly more love and attention have already been shown for his latest. You might have noticed on Friday that a fair portion of South Africa’s electronic music scene was excitedly sharing the album and more local media joints than usual have picked their ears and pens up for this one. With Dispersion, Parabyl takes things from the bedroom to the studio and teams up with top-notch talent from SA and abroad to put the 5 original songs and 2 remixes together.
The opener, “Creatures”, features the vocal talents of Tzara and feels like a lost Santigold track. It’s an ethereal, glitchy delve into identity. From there Parabyl teams up with Vitu in an X-files inspired, money-grabbing trap anthem with “Upstream”. “Mortar”, is the only solo track on the album and it allows Parabyl the freedom to take you on, what we in the business call “a journey”. “Data Mine” is a bit more of a discordant melding of ideas and sounds with input from Tzara’s voice and Albany Lore’s distinct sax. “Katabasis” is a faded depression anthem with the aptly named Ohsoslow providing the narration to this tale of modern life. Parabyl then calls on Sosari and Rose Bonica to put their touches on “Data Mine” in the form of two remixes. Sosari’s take could be used in a Nintendo video game and conjures up images of catching rings in Sonic, whilst Rose Bonica makes things frantic and uneasy with her version. With Dispersion, Parabyl is saying “I am here. Pay attention to me”. For his sake and yours, I think you should.