Jason Adams, performing under the name Rumori developed Deviance from live performances and has really made some amazing music in this album. In the description of the album on BandCamp, the composition of the pieces is described where "Each piece of music works to create its own unique environment, minimal melodies laying a foundation for complex textures and exploration." Each movement follows this structure incredibly well, but they all are so much more complex than the description implies. Pieces like "Shrouded" and "Deviance" emphasize this minimal melody creating significantly more complexity through the polyphonic behaviors of the music. The use of effects also expands on the depth of complexity by allowing expansion into sonic realms the cello cannot reach on its own.
"Tarantula" leads the album though deep floating lines with heavy use of delay to allow the cello to build a sense of deep foreboding. The first section of the track is held together with a three to four note descending pattern which slowly ambles along, searching, watching, hunting; weaving a complex web of sounds. The original minimal theme mutates into a 5 note pattern ascending at the end creating a subtle sense of scurrying across the soundscape before settling back to the original feel of the piece.
Through heavy echo and delay, the floating melody presented by the cello to create the sonic world for "Connemara." Drifting though this sonic world, the slow intentional melodies fill the space with a deep sense of purposefulness. Each note and gesture leads so beautifully to the next it is easy to get lost in the structure of the piece, much like forgetting the forest due to the beauty of the trees.
Driving aggressively from the very onset, "Shrouded" begins with aggressive tremolos to create a busy, noisy surface which betrays the complex motion happening beneath the surface of bow scratches. Suddenly shifting to long tones with gradually increasing distortion the second section keeps the aggressive tension without the significant busyness. Haunting banshee wails escape as the complexity of the first section begins to return from the ambience. A third, heavily distorted sonic scene finally overwhelms all other and drags the noise back into silence.
Much like early symphonies move between fast and slow movements; the fast, busy texture of "Shrouded" is followed by an almost chorale of drifting tones and themes loosely tied to a harmonic center in "Algi." The slowness of the tempo and melodic lines is reminiscent of Connemara, yet "Algi" has many more layers stacked atop one another. The piece floats and mutates along leaving me simultaneously satiated and longing for more.
"Shadow of" begins with a driving almost march-like pulsing note. Lost songs of ghasts sing melodiously over the march. A goal seems to be sought, though we as the listener do not know it yet. The marching patterns become more forceful with sounds of drums adding to the driving tones. The melodies drift towards and away from the center line until we are left finally with a modified version of the original pulse.
Seamlessly moving from "Shadow of" to "Deviance" through an almost Reich-ian feeling of drifting in and out of phase gradually leaves us in a sense of confusion. The original goal being sought in "Shadow of" has been lost, the melodies broken, and finally the pulse is gone. We seek in ambiguity for a rhythm, harmony, or melody but a tumultuous end is all that we are left with. A deep darkness echoes back to us, leaving us to ponder the journey.
The final track, "Swept," opens like bells to the sky, with glistening glissandi floating up from the tones of the cello to be lost in the sky above. The melodies are slow and simple, minimal but engaging, before expanding into the deeper pitch space. I am reminded of the harmonic complexity of the organ as the depths of the sonic range of the cello becomes more engrained in the piece. There is a strange distorted reverence in this piece.
Overall "Deviance" is a fantastic album. The use of minimal gestures to create sonic environments allows for a sense of continuous, almost improvisatory development, yet the masterful compositional approach from Rumori keeps a sense of structure and form. Give the album a listen and pick it up if you're able; the CD is beautifully packaged.