Originally born in Poland and now based in the New England region of the US, sound artist / electronic producer Derek Piotr last surfaced most recently with his collaborative album alongside Australian producer Paul Heslin as Piotr-Heslin on Wood & Wire. Just a few months on, this latest album on Monotype ‘Tempatempat’s takes its title from an Indonesian word meaning either ‘fourth place’ or ‘forging place’, depending on where the emphasis is placed. While spoken Indonesian words repeatedly appear on a few of the 14 tracks collected here though, what’s especially intriguing is that it was apparently completely accidental and unconscious, with Piotr apparently later transcribing his vocal improvisations to find that they formed coherent lyrics of deep meaning in that language. As with Piotr’s preceding work, his own vocal utterances form the majority of the structure behind the tracks here, whether edited into percussive rhythmic elements, employed as ambient drone textures, or left more recognisably as the melodic focal point.
There’s also a discernibly free-flowing and repetitive feel to many of the tracks here that calls to mind mantras and even the clanking ring of gamelan at points. ‘Yogyakarta’ certainly evokes this feeling as chiming tones move in circular motion around a flute-like melodic loop and Piotr’s wordless layered vocals call to mind a gentle lullaby as much as they do an exotic ceremonial incantation, the entire track conjuring up a dreamy and hypnotic atmosphere. ‘Bhadrakali’ meanwhile sees nervously shuffling and squeaking rhythms pushing up an undercurrent of tension as Piotr’s multi-tracked vocal harmonies get pushed through Auto-tune processed into eerily snaking ghost shadows of themselves against gently chiming loops, while elsewhere ‘Mandala’ rolls with an tribal thump beneath Piotr’s shamanic sounding vocal utterances, the looseness of the rhythms perfectly complementing the almost Sufi-esque imagery that’s evoked by the snaking vocals. ‘Intersection Of Rivers’ meanwhile sees previous collaborator Paul Heslin making a reappearance in what’s easily this album’s most harshly percussive offering as icy melodic tones pick a path between hammering beats and eerie phased background noises, Piotr’s vocals being restricted to little else but sharper plosive sounds. A consistently intriguing collection from Piotr, ‘Tempatempat’s often ends up being a far more lulling and gentle listen than first appearances might suggest.