Rahbek's best work sets the sublime against the excruciating, which he then modulates into sonorous and discordant soundscapes. "In Piles Of Magazines" and "A Mess Of Love" are the best examples of this on City Of Women. An anxious high-pitched note is held through the latter, but its midsection is drowned out by a swell of warm strings. "In Piles Of Magazines"'s harsh electronics could bore through flesh and bone, but its blasts of colour make Rahbek's sonic torture a little easier to bear.
You can detect instruments throughout the album, but, "A Word A Day" aside, they are usually corrupted in some way. There's the percolating piano on "Fermented" that sounds like a degraded recording, or the tired accordion groans of "Take Pleasure In Habits." City Of Women's finest attribute is not so much the sounds that Rahbek uses as the way he treats them. Take "Palm." Rahbek sets an ominous mood with layers of drone, then introduces a throbbing aural wave that morphs and grows with each subtle tweak. The album has many such pockets that invite deep listening. City Of Women might not have as much bite as, say, the Puce Mary collaboration of The Female Form. Nor does it quite reach the emotive heights of Croatian Amor. But it's a great introduction to Rahbek's music in general.