PORCH SAM: HI DESERT
Porch Sam isn’t afraid to leave his porch. Sound artist Sam Rogich is a born traveler, having spent time in Chicago, Boston, Nashville, and northern Wisconsin before winding up in L.A. in 2017, sculpting audio for commercials and working at DIY institution Non Plus Ultra. Last fall, a friend’s invitation to house-sit near Joshua Tree piqued Rogich’s interest, and he decamped for a couple of weeks with a laptop, some synths, and a will to beat September’s suffocating heat. The aptly named HI DESERT is an artifact of that wanderlust and disorientation, patching together the soaring synths and motorik beats of vintage krautrock into a stuttering lo-fi Frankenstein. Rogich’s ear for gorgeous tones is the foundation here—“Salvage Title” begins life as a new age soundscape, “Baby Dragon” as cavernous dub, “Cut Off” as flickering 1 AM techno. But Porch Sam’s lexicon is filled with sour modular blips, guitar feedback, and frantic live percussion, which creep in to hijack the sublime beauty for a drive through the Uncanny Yucca Valley. Not to mention Rogich’s vocals, which alternate between oblique mumbles (“Cut Off”) and a hair-raising howl (“Wasteland”, with its distorted refrain of “I’m not goin’ out this way!”). It’s a deeply personal and claustrophobic take on communal music—the sound of pop left out in the sun too long.