Boomkat Product Review:
Regis’ Downwards label inaugurates a new limited edition whitelabel series with this quietly spectacular percussive/deep listening album from Naarm-based experimental percussionist Rohan Rebeiro, erstwhile collaborator of Roland S. Howard and HTRK, and member of influential post punk weirdos My Disco. It’s fully revelatory gear, in the spirit of drum-only albums from Glen Velez, Chris Corsano, Michael Ranta and Valentina Magaletti.
Rohan has been an active part of Naarm's fertile fringe for years, playing in post punk trio My Disco and collaborating with local legends HTRK on their 'Marry Me Tonight' album. His solo debut is a real stunner, drawing on decades of experience playing in various basements and big rooms, making use of a gained, deep understanding of different types of resonant spaces and their impact on his instruments.
Rebeiro recorded 'Unrendered Language' at 170 Leicester St Fitzroy, a vast hall with booming acoustics that help turn his kit into a collection of ambiguously complex, resonant tones. He utilises an array of percussive techniques, but assembles his sound in an intoxicatingly unique way, playing the rhythms and loose hits into the expansive reverb to embrace the negative space with searching, pointillist patter, and thunder-brew metallic shudders, before really stretching out with expressive, reticulated drum rolls and quiet/loud dynamics that conjure the threat and dread of a jungle at night.
We can hear so many references in there - there are nods to Japanese court music, traditional Indian drumming, free jazz and experimental noise - but Rebeiro uses these elements to abstraction, paying them the respect they deserve but never getting snared in formula. 'Unrendered Language 4' is a peak example, a flurry of hollow taps that sound like light-fingered dholak rolls, leaning into the reverb itself by allowing the notes fall off occasionally, layering metallic clangs and whooshes to animate the composition. Listen closely and the tiniest sounds - hyper-fast trills, cymbal rolls - begin to unbalance the brain.