Active Child


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Picture a house constructed of glass, tucked away on a hillside, up a steep winding
driveway. It’s only several miles from downtown LA, but far removed from the smog
and celebrity. From this mountain repose, you can see the freeway buzzing in the
distance. You’re aware of the sounds of the city clucking. But mostly, you feel the
golden light permeating through the walls and hear the empyrean voices echoing
within. This is Rapor.
Rapor is both the name of Active Child’s new EP and the appellation for the
residence in which the music was created (“Ra” means sun. “Por” means house.) It’s
where singer and multi-instrumentalist Pat Grossi found sanctuary, refuge, and
inspiration in the wake of nearly two years of touring his wildly successful Vagrant
Records debut, 2011’s You Are All That I See.
“Sometimes I’d spend a week alone at the house writing without leaving or having
visitors. It was during those periods that I realized how important this space was to
me personally and creatively,” says Grossi, whose celestial falsetto was initially
cultivated in the Philadelphia Boys Choir. “It gave me a platform to sit on and reflect,
and it surrounded me with a beauty that’s a key inspiration for my music.”
If angelic is an overused but accurate cliché used to describe Active Child’s music,
Rapor achieves equilibrium due to the gravity of real-life experiences. While
traveling across the globe, Grossi was overwhelmed by the outpouring of sentiment
from fans. These interactions allowed him re-focus on the cathartic power of music.
The songs on Rapor are more than just beautiful cathedrals of sound. They contain
both the cuts and the confessions only achieved through intense solitude and
“I had a few rare moments with people who approached me, threw their arms
around me and sobbed, like they had just been reunited with their long lost
brother,” Grossi says. “Sometimes it was overwhelming, but other times I heard
their story of what brought them to my music. It changed me and how I saw song
writing; it showed me how powerful a song can be and it made me want to go home,
and focus on writing music that could heal.”
The record’s gestation included days spent writing instrumentals, building the spine
for the melodies and lyrics. Each night, Grossi returned to his creations and sang
over it—the mood of the track often acting as a mouthpiece for his subconscious. It’s
both meticulously sculpted and stream of consciousness, allowing for ideas, songs,
and stories to glide through.
One particularly stunning example is “Silhouette,” Grossi’s collaboration with Ellie
Goulding. The pair channel a young Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel with a radiant
fervor only found in those who share a legitimate musical connection. “Subtle” finds
Grossi in seraphic union with Rihanna collaborator, Mikky Ekko. Stereogum
immediately hailed it as “wonderful.” Pitchfork raved about its intense physicality.
The EP foregrounds a national winter tour, leading up to a full-length album
tentatively due out next spring. Grossi has been almost constantly recording in
Rapor, creating rhapsodies amidst the glass and sun.
“These are my stories, my heartache, my vows, but I want them more than ever to be
those of the listeners too,” Grossi says. “I want them to share in my excitement and
my pain, and make it their own.”