Composer and drummer Brendan Faegre’s debut EP Broken Mirrors reconciles the stoical and expressive aspects of minimalism while playing to his strengths as a creator and performer.
Recorded with only a small drum kit and a monosynth, the music develops through relentless repetition. Drum and synthesizer layers gradually accumulate and evolve, while overlapping cycles of harmony and rhythm provide a slow-and-steady inertia. The surface crackles with cymbal blasts and the depths shake with sub-bass eruptions.
The EP consists of one 20-minute composition divided into four tracks, Parts I-IV. Part I is full of disorienting grooves and bass-lines, reminiscent of Faegre’s prog-rock past. It’s like watching a violent fractal animation, fascinating for its complex logic. In Part II, the focus shifts to timbre and noise, as a distorted contrapuntal array of synthesizer melodies slowly materialize.
Where Parts I and II show off Faegre’s abilities as a post-minimal composer, Parts III and IV give his inner drummer free rein. As a repeated groove emerges in Part III, the ascetic geometry of the first half begins to crack. Faegre finally begins to improvise, shaping time freely towards syncopated low-synth explosions. Agitated, almost drum ‘n’ bass-style rhythms work their way around the kit methodically, starting with just the hi-hat and eventually moving down to the kick drum. Part IV is ecstatic release, providing catharsis from all the restraint exercised thus far, and a fulfilling conclusion to the piece.