Derek Monypeny – Unjust Intonation

11.29.21 by Matty McPherson

There really isn’t anything to the desert snapshots I took back in January when I passed through Joshua Tree with my family. When I look at them, I’m filled with a sense of awe as much as isolation, the vastness that fills the film from this disposable camera. It’s an environment that welcomes someone like Derek Monypeny and the hypnagogic fiddling he brings to a guitar and some reverb and time effect pedals here on Unjust Intonation. For the uninitiated, Monypeny has played around with a litany of cool cats (and he’ll even being touring the cool out-of-the-way spots across the West Coast in January), all the while traversing through a form of minimalism that evokes ambient house while evading the chill out zones. It’s environmental music well suited to the natural architecture of Joshua Tree.

Unjust Intonation a four part suite (also subtitled the Poorly Tuned Guitar) that sees Monypeny concocting a pleasant chord with his guitar, turning it into drone and then allowing it full reign. It works as a piece of functionatory music where Monypeny is allowed to be at once an observer to the machinations on shorter parts as much as a manipulator in longer ones. In part one, it feels like sun spots sparkling off of desert canyons, while part two could function as a field recording of an underground cave and groundwater flowing–until Monypeny lets a jarring rip shingle across the stately affairs. Different textures plop through part two, pushing towards a reverent kind of abyss (one that also can be heightened via combining a hit of indica and using a book to feel gravitys pull).

Part Three steams and vents its way deep into the dirt, turning the soundscape into a type of meta-recording of a medicine bowl. It snarls and drones, losing that initial focus until it seizes itself as a kind of internal alarm that fades into black. And then that brings us to the infinite star crossed sky that part 4 brings to mind. Here, you kinda feel all the previous 20ish minutes weave themselves into a more omnibus kind of cohesion. Much to my pleasure, it is here where Monypeny really evokes Hali Palombo, albeit by staying and weaving this out to ten minutes of drifting, not just highlighting a snippet of a cylinder.

Limited Edition Cassette Available from the Trouble in Mind Explorers Series

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