Review Summary: Opaque
It’s nice when electroacoustic composers title their works thoughtfully. It’s like a gentle nudge in the right direction amidst a genre notoriously vague, yet (sometimes) rewardingly so. On Jason Lescalleet’s label, Glistening Examples, we see Derek Rogers craft textures that embody the power of silence without ever being silent. It’s like a psychological extension of a piece like In Be Tween Noise’s Humming Endlessly in the Hush
, where intent listening of the Steve Roden project heightens the slight effects of an otherwise barren soundscape. With Silence is Being Substituted
, the lasting effect is almost the opposite, despite a similar inspiration. Rogers taps into confinement, and then maximizes those little nuances into an almost symphonic concentration. It’s a far cry from Paul Dolden-level intensity, and still very peaceful, but is a lot more full-bodied then most concrète composers’ more dissective works, remoulding plenty of sounds from live performances that grant a more immersive experience. From opener “The Weight of Light” to closer “Mine Was a Minority Opinion”, we get a slow-moving sensation of the blinding sting of cracking the blinds open, to when the light fills the room with warmth and almost allows the objects to produce sound via colours.
It’s impressive that Rogers is able to be so coherent in the grand scheme of things, as his newest effort boasts a slew of arrangement techniques. We get soft drones being slowly unwound into coarse threads in "The Weight of Light”, whereas follow-up “Silence is Being Substituted” sees intricate glitchy textures gradually decompose before boiling over. “Alone in Isolation” is a wayward string arrangement, resembling a conductor who mentally pauses between flicking his baton, focusing on the fly on the light fixture or whathaveyou. A distorted wave takes over like a migraine before releasing mercifully. “Collision, with Snare” is an album highlight, and seems to capture the exact moment when you absorb the radiancy of a suddenly illuminated room full of books and photographs and ornate furniture. Closer “Mine Was a Minority Opinion” is the heftiest track present, and seems to recap the previous moments of Silence is Being Substituted
with a more dour outlook. If the previous five songs cast light on objects of quaint wonder, the closer does the same thing for a soulless, rotted landscape. It’s the perfect counterpoint. If you were fortunate enough to feel breathless during parts of “Collision, with Snare”, “Mine Was a Minority Opinion” is a lingering, anxious lump in the throat. Inexplicably, it all erupts into what resembles a book being torn apart by a cyclical wind tunnel. Maybe. Derek Rogers supersedes silence, and it’s deafening.