Review of Stil. [12k1020]

Grooves (US)

Deupree’s latest offering is miles away from his previous, “urban” Occur. That album portrayed the nature of city life as one of accidental, unplanned convergences, nine resolutely non-linear, grainy excursions. It was heavy going. This drone-based successor is much better, and might be taken as analogous to a satellite photograph of the terrain visited in Occur. With only four long tracks that evolve at a snail’s pace (and even these are intended to be taken as excerpts from pieces of gargantuan length), Stil. gives Deupree an opportunity to refine the graininess of the earlier work. He grasps it with both hands to produce by far his finest full-length release to date.

These quiet pieces don’t wander too far from their starting points, so it’s a good thing that Deupree gives them sufficient depth to leave the listener transfixed. “Snow/Sand” is constructed around gentle, slowly oscillating pitch pulses that retain an almost ascetic consistency. Crucially, through, they act as anchors to a K├Ârner-esque drone that inches fractionally and imperceptibly into the sand or show of the title. Tiny pops flitter across the surface, baseball-sized meteors passing above the earth’s atmosphere. This shouldn’t give the impression of a smooth, linear evolution. There are sudden shifts in dynamics here, but compared to the sudden cliff-faces that, say, Pita likes to throw his listeners down, Stil. is wonderfully subtle and rewarding in the way that all the best lowercase music is. “Recur” contains a colossal jump about two minutes in, when its serene mood is swept aside by a sudden dark felling of tension that remains unresolved.

Deep down, this music is pockmarked with all manner of unusual features that are just about audible, the intent mysterious. In a context whereby too many artists in this neighborhood have resorted to essentialist justifications for clicks, glitches, and drones, Deupree makes a beautifully open-ended statement from which he could go in a myriad of directions. Absolutely first rate. – John Gibson.

View Release