Review: Stefan Roigk – Suffering for the Promised (Fragment Factory, Jan 1)

It’s always a good thing when the time, dedication, and sheer love put into a piece of music by the artist is palpable to the listener. And according to Fragment Factory, Stefan Roigk’s composition “Suffering for the Promised” has a hell of a lot of all three. Roigk has worked on the piece for the past fourteen years, constantly revising and reimagining it despite its relatively short length, and the artist’s level of commitment to his craft truly shines through. The sixteen minute track, released as a single-sided LP, is dominated by uneasy sketches of processed sound, barely discernible vocal recordings, and the occasional touch of real-world environments. It’s easy to be reminded of the concise, ambitious concrète works released on Jérôme Noetinger’s Cinema Pour L’Oreille mini-CD imprint; Roigk adopts a good amount of influence from some of those releases, whether consciously or not, largely in how the piece is structured. The whole thing is unified by its powerful, haunted atmosphere, but it mainly progresses by moving through short segments (or, to pay homage to Walter Ruttman’s concept of the film for the ear, ‘scenes’), loosely sewn together by a ghostly drone. Roigk also masters the sense of physicality that I associate with Noetinger and others, yanking structural collages of sounds from near-silence and carefully building upon them. I can almost guarantee that Suffering for the Promised will make you feel things… though I can’t guarantee they’re things you’ve ever felt before.