Derek Rogers, the composer/multi-instrumentalist behind over forty tape releases and 2012′s Saturations LP, links up with Chicago drone/noise trio Good Willsmith for a split release on Hausu Mountain. Originally conceived as a physical commemoration of Good Willsmith’s west coast tour in Summer 2013 – culminating in a bill with Rogers in his native LA zone – the tape’s side-long sessions showcase two visions of contemporary experimental composition as a form of meditation, self-directed challenge, even catharsis.
Rogers’ piece “Reticent Purity” unfolds across the A-Side in three distinct movements. What begins as a quiet two-chord guitar progression escalates into a monolith of reactive low-end synthesis and electronic ambience, with Rogers’ live input and computer processing cohering into a harmonic call-and-response across the few milliseconds of latency. If the first part of the triptych crests into a holy atmosphere akin to the guitar work of Christian Fennesz, the second passage creeps in as a haze of stuttering organ lines and snippets of glitched-out noise. Rogers dials back the unease for the final movement, which blossoms into a wash of hypnotic pure tone synth (think Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2) still infused with a current of digital manipulation.
Good Willsmith’s “The Recurrence Of Cards” documents a side-long live session, presented here without overdubs or edits. Continuing their pursuit of more and more maxed-out multi-instrumental drones, the trio’s long-take loops overflow with analog synth swells, psychedelic guitar shred, and oscillator-derived low-end. Natalie Chami’s vocals layer into a choral arrangement as her loops develop, steering the session into more legible territory alongside Doug Kaplan’s and Max Allison’s swirling mire of noise and sampled physical media. Kaplan opens the session with the playback of a thrifted LP of bird calls, nodding to the nature sounds so often found in the ambient/new age tradition; as the trio sheds these touchstones in favor of a chaos closer to free-jazz, these sounds stretch, loop, and accelerate through enough pedal-based processing to render them another alien component of the din.
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