Daniel Menche – Odradek (Beta-lactum Ring) 2009

There is something in Menche’s version of drone that sets it apart from many of his contemporaries.  On the surface the noise is a simply layer beast of low-end rumble and high-pitched distortion which somehow propels itself forward over the length of a track. The problem with a lot of drone is that if listened too passively the reason for the movement in the sound can be missed. On the first of two lengthy untitled tracks which make up Odradek the hidden something which makes it all work is processed percussion.  The track starts ominously enough with a an occasional jarring thud which sounds like a piano being punched but after those few distractions the track gains some momentum before half way through revealing its full percussive colours. It’s actually very clever because I think he is one of the few noise artists that can incorporate percussion into a layered drone and almost completely hide it. Despite all the different elements which combined to the first track, it is bleak as hell and is almost an aural representation of Menche’s black and white photography of Oregon’s wilderness.

The second track is really strange. It begins with the reading of a poem (in German) of the mythical creature which the album is named after. It’s all a bit KTL like in many ways. The spoken word component doesn’t last long and in typical Menche style lies under some effects (in this case some  chiming gong and distorted thuds). After the poem recedes into memory the track doesn’t immediately reveal itself as a drone track. It’s almost sounds like   an orchestra of wind chimes. The most remarkable thing about the track as it slowly moves and shift is that it is one of Menche’s few musical expressions of hope and genuine emotion. A startling leap froward for Menche and a remarkable record. It will take you a few listens to get the full effect but give it time and let it blow you away.

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