Robert Piotrowicz: modular synthesizer, guitar, piano, vibraphone, software
Originally intended as a part of an audio book, When Snakeboy Is Dying shines of its own (dim) lights, marking the first time for Robert Piotrowicz to augment the compositional palette with instruments beyond synthesizers and computers. His decision of tackling them without external aid is not the fruit of bullheadedness, but a conscious attempt to rigorously focus on the properties of those sounds that he deemed necessary for the music’s constitutional narrative to unfold. Still, the bulk of this work was indeed born from synthetic and computerized processes; the organically animate qualities of the subsequent additions – providing, in the composer’s words, a sort of “minimalist consonance” to the recipe – are indispensable in tracing the record’s overall coordinates and evidencing the architectural ability with which diverse sonic layers were positioned. The ultimate outcome is a tremendous five-track vinyl set, an outstanding release whose singularity is parallel to the electroacoustic inscrutability typical of the (uncommon) crucial statements in this area.
You wonder who Snakeboy is, and what certain things mean in the general context. Piotrowicz responds with rather indefinite indications, separating the two sides just by suggesting a “shapeless mass” linked to a pre-creation state, followed by a change for the worse when thought and cognizance render that initial condition adulterated. The mastermind is quick to add that a story related to the music might easily be avoided. In fact, the beauty of each episode – either in the calmer, broodier pieces such as the terrific “The Bite”, or in the quiveringly suspenseful “Snakeboy Maximus” – speaks for itself. The album’s definitive worthiness, however, lies in Piotrowicz’ incontestable endowment in furnishing us with “orchestral” sub-figurations originating from very few sources, thus developing the listener’s ephemerally sentient faculties through a faultless dosage of natural and artificial components. A mystery to look at with the same wide eyes of a kid who meets an alien while playing alone, and receives a caress on the head by that strange individual.