Review: Roller – Offed (Radical Documents, Jan 5)

Formed in Ohio and now based in LA, Roller, the duo of Ross Caliendo and Jordan DiDomenico, has operated as a live unit with no recorded material for 15 years—until now, that is. Offed, a C38’s worth of formidably consistent material “[c]ulled from hours of live improvisation,” seems (albeit to a brand new fan) very much worth the wait. With roots in the “frigid warehouses of the mid-western noise scene” and a distinctly freeform and instantaneous approach to collaboration, Caliendo and DiDomenico’s music embodies the furthest remove I’ve encountered from the sacred, reliable rhythms of EDM that still remains firmly in danceable territory. Much of its strength lies in its seamless assimilation of electronic music tricks and tropes—countless samples of all sorts bent and buffeted, pounding patches with beats that bust open as soon as they hit, sawtooth synth transmissions—to the point that it might cast the illusion of careful composition and post-production, and yet its volatility is, after everything, what makes it so spectacular. It’s difficult to put together coherent thoughts about tracks like “Habit Man Zero” or “Homonculus” or “Endo” that check every box I didn’t know I needed, mangled Arca-style cuts over grooving bass slices and wet, stumbling mid-tempo techno and brutal four-on-the-floor broken and bitcrushed just the right amount. Can’t you tell? I’m in love. LISTEN TO THIS!