Rainmaking contains a warning from the artist: “I’m not sure who will enjoy this album, and I worry for those that do.” Oops ~ since I bought a copy, Jacob Brant is now officially worried about me! The warning exposes the question of perception, underlining the fact that art is in the eye of the beholder. According to Brant, the EP was “inspired by months of anger and frustration at the world”. This is Jacob’s story, and as such it cannot be disputed. He describes the EP’s tone as dark. This is Jacob’s perception. It may have arisen from a dark place, but this does not make it dark (I hear the opposite), and loving the dark is not necessarily a cause for concern. Should we worry, for example, that people enjoy Stephen King and The Walking Dead? Probably not ~ we all need an outlet, and well-done horror can be cathartic. Should we worry that people like to judge each other and blow each other up? Yes ~ and this is Brant’s concern, although it has little to do with a love for music composed or perceived of as dark; the latter is our story.
Rainmaking does include dark parts. The throat singing of “Rainmaker” comes across as potentially menacing, although it also sounds like ritual, which may be perceived as either comforting (as in an ancient religious ceremony) or really scary (a pagan ceremony of bloodletting and human sacrifice). And the monologue in the center sounds angry until one hears the concluding sentence, “the whistle blows and it’s a call for rain” twice, bearing a melancholic tinge that overwhelms the anger. Bright chords serves as a balance, as does the sound of extra static poking through at 8:08. It’s as if Brant, in his darkest place, was unable to disguise a pesky seed of hope. This thought is further borne out by the presence of the flowers on the cover and wildflower seeds in the original deluxe edition.
The shorter “Whistleblower” is mixed into the first track on the CD3″, so listeners may not realize that it is separately titled. This piece continues to play with rustle and tone, with gorgeous refractive waves offset by thick sheets of incandescent howl. The overall effect is that good and evil are battling very slowly. This may be exactly what is taking place in Brant’s mind and in the world around us. We have a choice to see the world as devolving or evolving and to respond in despair or in hope. “Next time I’ll try healing music instead”, writes Brant. The irony is that this is healing music: the honest expression of a heart at war. (Richard Allen)