8.75 out of 10
As I'm sitting here beginning this review I am actually listening to 'Agora Regathered' which is the remix or "companion piece" to 'Agora' (the album I'm supposed to be listening to/talking about..(I'll get to it;) But truth be told, I had never heard of Derek Piotr until a few months (maybe more) ago. The first album of his that I was introduced to (via Derek) WAS 'Agora Regathered'. I loved it, I could tell the form that had been so stripped down/minimal and desperate was once triumphant, emotionally more complex and possibly darker. I had to "put the pieces back together" I suppose.. Now that I have, I have even more appreciation for the evolution of this project, 'Agora' delivers and then some. ..Another time I find myself kicking me again, better late than never I suppose.. Oh! And while you're reading this, know that in about a month or so Derek Piotr's next full length "Airing" is coming out.
'Agora' is anything but a "conventional Indie album", its extremely playful (in a morbid-technological sense) and (quite possibly) way ahead of it's time. It can be a harsh sound to swallow and I know it's only meant for the most well trained music lovers;], but it's quite astonishing if you let it creep in. Derek's art lays somewhere between Xiu Xiu (maybe Br'er) maybe Swans meets Coil, or Bjork meets Raster Noton. Multiple sounds are constantly evolving in his music..That (his sound) could easily change from one mood to another (mostly depressing on this release). With his first release (yep, this one) he wanted to focus on voice .."dramatized" of course (that's where the Xiu Xiu/Br'er/Bjork reference comes into play) in doing so he decided it would be best to keep all other soundscapes quite/minimal, somewhat cold & manufactured ambiance (this is where the Coil/Swans/Raster Noton reference comes in). When mixing the elements of some of my favorite musicians you're in for a harsh judgement, there's so many things you can do wrong. Well Derek, I judged you (harshly and honestly) ..you sir, are anything but another homage that eventually fades into the sunset, sure you "pay homage" to certain sounds but you do it in a way that is unique to you. You ooze originality and gut-wrenching brutal-dark honesty in your voice. Your music is not only perfectly crafted/totally complementary to your voice, it's also important and critical to my ears. Between the scary, the mechanical, the maniacal & the emotionally inept, is an environment that is unique to 'Agora'. You've got my full attention now Derek.
Seriously amazing weirdness.
Standout Tracks: Overtaker (sooo smooth), Scrape, From Whiteness, Remain (THIS remix is pretty swell too)