I’d been hearing a lot about this Derek Rogers guy earlier in the year and late in the summer I got my hands Petit Chapeau along with his also great split with Pummeler on Stunned.
I dig Rogers work because he manages to strike the delicate balance between creating a unified, monolithic force with his drones and avoiding strict minimalism and creating a depth of sound. “Side A” of this tape for instance, depending on the volume you are playing it at or perhaps just how attentive you are listening can seem like a constant, hypnotic flow of sound or a pretty complex, dynamic field of sounds. Both perceptions are great, and hey sometimes it’s nice to have control as a listener like when that record you have sounds even cooler at 45rpm. The sonic palette Rogers uses is fairly dark, in the sense of the color palette of the tape’s cover, rather than “dark” imagery. It’s dense and marshy, and kinda bleeds all over or into itself creating a nearly impenetrable, rumbling wall of fuzz. The wall of fuzz slowly opens up (or lightens up) near the end where everything seems to get a touch lighter in pitch and maybe with a bit of a brighter outlook as well. Which makes me wonder what exactly is it that makes a drone a downer or more uplifting?
I like “Side A” but “Side B” is what really captured my heart. Way more “synth-y,” this thing is just thick and pulsing to no end. The brute force of the low-end drones keeps kicking while Rogers fiddles with some higher pitched modulations further heightening the tension. The piece pounds you into submission in a weird way because it really isn’t noisy or abrasive but it just overpowers and absorbs you into itself. It’s this big fucking ball of sound that you just can’t ignore or avoid; it seeps directly into your brain through your ears whether you like it or not. Against all probability the piece gets even more massive, even more dynamic, and even tenser as it rolls along. I don’t even understand how Rogers does that; is it just a slow application of pressure through imperceptible volume increases or what? I don’t understand it and I’m not gonna argue. We obviously have a master at work here.
Still available as far as I can tell from Eric Hardiman’s (Rambutan) killer Tape Drift imprint and obviously recommended to those who like getting their brains rattled.