Ricardo Donoso is a busy guy. As one half of Boston noise makers Perispirit, drummer for the avant-metal band Ehnahre, and sole proprietor of the Semata label, it’s amazing he has any creative steam left over for his solo pursuits, that have until now humbly resided in tape-culture obscurity.
Along with the wider audience that Donoso’s latest LP for Digitalis will inevitably bring, Progress Chance also sees a rather drastic change in direction for the Brazilian ex-pat. The harsh noise and demonic drone styles of Perispirit are replaced by skeletal renditions of Scandinavian and Goa trance music. The seven pieces that make up this half-hour affair sound like mere ghosts of the club-oriented dance tunes that Donoso grew up with, the goal being to create his own version of the “morning dance music” that characterized the Brazilian rave scene.
Though it wasn’t obvious in his music until this point, Donoso has long been fascinated with rhythm, stemming from his interest in techno, but also from his roots as a jazz drummer. Digitalis has compared the sound of Progress Chance to Berlin school electronic pioneers like Klaus Schulze, though perhaps a more accurate comparison can be made to more current German takes on the sequenced glitch’n’drift, like those released on Kompakt’s Pop Ambient compilations. One also need not overlook originality, of which Donoso has enough of to make any comparison fall short.
In the wake of being a wholly original and refreshing take on a style that isn’t exactly known for its nuances, Progress Chance also feels experienced, revealing immaculately timed phrases and a consistent mood that is both unnerving and somehow soothing. Donoso probably didn’t intend for this to be his most accessible release, but it turned out that way, and through his working of out-of-sync sequencing and sinewy frequencies that make for a 180° shift in direction, it’s also likely the closest to home he’ll ever get.