Portland, OR recording artist Peter Broderick has been releasing a steady stream of LPs, film scores, and art installation soundtracks, among other projects, for nearly a decade now. His latest album Partners is an avant-garde collection of voice and piano recordings inspired by John Cage’s attempts to remove himself from his own compositions using chance. After having written a series of poems inspired by a single phrase, Broderick rolled a set of dice to determine how many would end up on the album, and then used a subsequent sequence of dice rolls to determine the order of the tracklist. He further explored chance on individual songs, such as “Under The Bridge,” whereby Broderick assigned numbers to different notes and rolled dice to decide the order in which he would play them.
Lead single “Carried,” however, is a bit less high-concept. Written in Berlin and an on-and-off addition in Broderick’s live sets, “Carried” is a murmuring piece that features a soft vocal loop filtering in and out of Broderick’s fluttering piano playing. A sense of hesitation is gradually replaced by trepidatious confrontation, and the spacious contours of the track seem to buckle and rise over the course of the song’s six minutes. Broderick chose to have Partners mixed and mastered in his absence, so that one day he could “walk into a café or roadside diner and hear it for the first time, playing as background music while people eat.” Between his explorations in probability and blinding himself to the finished product, Broderick is doing everything he can to have it both ways — to be both the author and the audience. You can’t blame him; from our vantage point it’s a pretty mesmerizing experience. Listen below.
02 “In A Landscape”
04 “Under The Bridge”
06 “Up Niek Mountain”
Partners is out 8/19 on Erased Tapes.