Premiere: Derek Piotr – “Wash II”

Returning to a scene first set by Drono, his 2016 release for Richard Chartier’s LINE imprint, Polish sound artist Derek Piotr finds an arid, exsiccated landscape where once its machinations were soothed by a dewy, soporific brume.

“Wash” always was Drono‘s heart of darkness – its chirruping apparatus cut much closer to the surface than those submerged by the transcendental “Lakes,” for example, upon which Maja Ratke’s manipulated vocals provide a hypnotic distraction. But for all its fulgent beauty, Drono‘s world was positively Orwellian in its construct, relying on febrile plumes of intoxicating vapour and cleansing rivulets of thermal water to disguise and detract from the cold and mechanical string-pulling beneath.

The fear was that the tide would part, coaxing the somnambulent surface dwellers down below to join the emotionless ranks. Half a decade on, Piotr looked about him and saw a world bereft of delicacy – they don’t even bother to try and fool us anymore and we seem to be accepting it. So “Wash II,” running at almost twice the length of its 17-minute predecessor, discards its numbing cloak and bares its teeth.

If “Wash” were allowed to play out Basinski-style it might feasibly crumble to the point it became “Wash II.”  The decrepit rotation running throughout could just as well be the sound of Piotr’s reels gasping their last as anything contained upon the loops themselves; they’re hot to warping-point, and any semblance of moisture that remains evaporates instantly into a thick Tarkovskian smog.  The track’s punishing length and bludgeoning repetition reveals a thick and threatening atmosphere only hinted at with Drono; the mists, long since burnt off, left nothing but rusted machinery beneath, clanking on alone until the end of days. 

But five minutes from the end, the grinding begins to fade and something close to organic begins to tentatively manifest. Voices, disembodied and beyond reach, seep in through cracks and the temperature eases noticeably. They might be memories or harbingers of consciousness itself – as they coalesce, they seem to find control.  Somewhere a column of light washes in. 

We’re thrilled to have been given the opportunity to premiere such a monumental work. We hope you enjoy the stream below; make sure you grab it for yourself over at Hard Return.