Derek Piotr is a Polish-born sound artist currently residing in New England whose work mainly centres around the human voice, and who’s previously worked as an intern to Meredith Monk, collaborated with the likes of AGF and had his work featured on Resonance FM. Paul Heslin meanwhile is a Canberra-based musician and producer who’s previously performed at Electrofringe, and toured several times overseas whilst also finding time to perform as a member of Canberra-based band Central West. Like Heslin’s preceding EP alongside Lucinda Eva-May ‘Chaque Jour’, this collaborative download-only EP between the two artists sees them working only with self-recorded sound sources, in this case ranging from newly fallen snow through to playground equipment. There’s a distinctly sinister atmosphere to many of the seven tracks collected here, and the sense of cohesive integration between Piotr and Heslin is frequently so strong that it’s a bit of a surprise to learn that the two have never met face-to-face, instead communicating only via the internet.
‘Edgeridge’ sees hissing distorted rhythms that sound like they’ve been reprocessed from vocal sources wading in a spidery fashion against a spray of crackling breath-like textures, the downbeat tempo allowing plenty of space for eerie bass tones to reverberate in the mix. ‘Shorting’ meanwhile kicks up the pace as a techno-esque fractured rhythmic pulse shudders and jerks against jittery metallic snares and wordless vocal harmonies build into a trailing wash through layers of reverb, shortly before the entire track flames out in a burst of static. Elsewhere, ‘Widower’ offers up one of this EP’s more gentle moments, and while the delicate vocals remain comparatively recognisably ‘human’ against the delicate harmonic background tones, every time a recognisable syllable seems to emerge it darts just out of reach, resulting in a wordless glossolalia that’s lulling as it is intriguingly impenetrable. A very strong collaborative EP that manages to cover a lot of ground in just 16 minutes. You can download it for free from https://woodwire.bandcamp.com/album/piotr-heslin