Archive for the Drone Category

Mike Shiflet – Sufferers (Type) 2011

Posted in Drone, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , on August 10, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Type records have been releasing some absolutely cracking records in 2011/2012. Two of the finest are the Mike Shiflet records Sufferers and Merciless. Both records were recorded just before Shiflet’s ground breaking Llanos record of last year. Sufferers came out at the end of last year and is my favourite of the two. It’s always hard to categorise Shiflet’s music. I suppose the starting point is to call the tracks on Sufferers drone but I just feel that the use of that term is just not quite right. There is a melancholic deliberateness to the work here.The sound moves incrementally and  in some ways it has the overall feel of an ambient version of Wolf Eye’s  Burned Mind record of a few years back. There is a lurching post apocalyptic field recording quality to the first few tracks but it’s Shiflet’s use of volume and intensity of the sounds that makes Sufferers a couple of steps away form an ordinary drone listening experience. This is drone for the rust-belt noise guys – the sort of thing which seeps into your consciousness to leave you just a little creeped out and extremely unsettled.  Tremendous.

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Pete Swanson – Man With Potential (Type) 2011

Posted in Drone, Music, Pete Swanson, yellow swans with tags , , on July 31, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Sorry I haven’t been around. Life has kind of gotten in the way of updating this site as much as I would like to. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been listening to a shit-ton of great music but in between the impending arrival of my third son, selling our house and a fucking horrible bout of Influenza A, the desire to type out my thoughts on records kind of collapsed. I even had to miss Keith Fullertom-Whitman’s recent show at the IMA because of the evil flu. One show I won’t be missing no matter whether I get sick, my kid gets born early or some other life issue is Pete Swanson’s gig at the Judith Wright Centre in August. The Yellow Swans are my favourite band –  period. I think for the last Yellow Swans record I reviewed here, Going Places, I said that the band just kept going from strength to strength wit this continual ability to make a better record that their last. I think Pete Swanson has managed to continue this quality into his solo work.

There are records of the past few years that i call my “Holy Shit” record. Albums that are just so flawlessly fantastic that  they attain the right to be called instant classics. In that group I place Black To Comm’s Alphabet 1968. Burning Star Core’s Challenger, Yellow Swans Going Places, Mike Shiflet’s Llanos, Daniel Menche and Kevin Drumm’s Gauntlet, Cane Swords’ Big Warmup In The Mouth Of Eternity. I also think that Man With Potential is up there with those records. Man With Potential sees Swanson embrace electronica and variations of techno, dub and minimalist beats and inject it with a giant dose of melancholia to replicate the rave at the end of the world. It’s stunning stuff. An album that is such a leap to the left of the  tremendous guitar  drones of the  I Don’t Rock At All. This is vinyl only but for a couple of bucks boomkat will sell you the mp3. One of the best records you’ll ever buy.

Mike Shiflet – Gutter Divas (Dokuro) 2010

Posted in Drone, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , on June 5, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Mike Shiflet has had a great run of releases recently and I promise I’ll get around to posting on them soon but I really wanted to write about this one. Gutter Divas was a cassette only release from 2010 which appeared in very limited quantities on an Italian label, Dokuro. There are still copies floating around on the internets but you need not  worry about such things because for  couple  of bucks you can get your own copy straight of Mike’s bandcamp site. I actually find it extraordinarily difficult to write about Shiflet’s music. He has graciously agreed to an interview but  for  a man who makes a living  cross examining witnesses I’m really struggling to come up with a set of questions that don’t sound lame.

Anyway, Gutter Divas is a two track release which focuses on static-heavy drone. The first track Gutter Divas uses sudden changes in volume to, I don’t know, raise  the tension and  … look what I think he does is smash the passiveness of the usual listening experience that tends to be the fall back position of people like me who are huge fans of the meditative qualities of drone. Drone is an overused term on this blog  and it has a many variants as any other genre but I suppose what Shiflet achieves is a more restless, industrial, overt form which is like a caffeinated ambience. The second track, They Don’t Have The Heart to Tell You is the type of straight up drone record where the subtle insertions of other frequencies and sounds and variations in volume keep the track from being purely static. Although it feels like much less is going  on than the first track, it is far more aggressive in the fact that the drone used is the type that changes the  listener’s ear pressure (which I actually like a fair bit). Gutter Divas is the Shiflet record I listen to the most and a pretty neat starting for those that have never heard him before.

CM Von Hausswolff – 800 000 Seconds in Harar (Touch) 2011

Posted in CM Von Hausswolf, Drone, Music with tags , , , on June 4, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

I the last few years of his life, Arthur Rimbaud, lived in Harar Ethiopia where he made his living as a coffee merchant and arms dealer. It was the place where he first started suffering the symptoms of cancer which would later claim his life at the age of 37. A playwright, Ullrich Hillebrad sent Swedish sound artist and composer  CM Von Hausswolff to Harar to record sounds for some music that he wanted Von Hausswolf to develop for a play based on a letter written by Rimbaud.

Von Hauswolff manages to  get a large number of field recordings from his stay in Harar as well as some notes from an ethiopian string  instrument called a krar which he then creates into pieces of the most exquisite minimalist drone. The first two tracks, Day and Night,are like a perfect amalgam of two of my favourite records, Russell Haswell’s Wild Tracks and Kevin Drumm’s Imperial Horizon.  The remaining two tracks are not quite as strong as the two openers, but the third track Alas! is what I reckon Stars of the Lid would sound like if they scored a horror film. Glacial tension if you can imagine such a thing. I suppose another way to hear it is  as an interesting link to Von Hausswolff’s interest in EVP’s and other  spooky things.  The final track is much more challenging.   A Sleeper in the Valley is an oscillator overlaying a morse code rendition of one of Rimbaud’s poems. Awesome? Shit yeah! And pretentious as fuck I might add but when the record sounds this good I  don’t really care.

Pete Swanson – I Don’t Rock At All (Three Lobed) 2011

Posted in Drone, Music, Pete Swanson, yellow swans on May 15, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

This short album by former Yellow Swan, Pete Swanson, came out as a bonus disc for those who bought a 4 x LP Three Lobed compilation. There were only 500 copies of this made and I was lucky enough to snaffle this on Discogs. As many regular readers may know, Yellow Swans were one of my favourite bands. I loved the shit out of them whether they were in their nasty noise mode or their cascading emotional drone guise.  I’m being honest when I say that that I was a little depressed when I found out a few years ago that they were splitting up. Yet Peter Swanson has been releasing some fine records since his former band’s swan song, the majority of them coming out on vinyl. For those of us who don’t own record players, I Don’t Rock At All is one of the few releases that  have come out on CD. The three tracks on this record are slices of shimmering guitar drone which expand, in a much simpler form, the emotional experimentalism of the last few Yellow Swans records. Swanson’s music is warm and moving without ever descending into sentimentality. This record is absolutely fantastic. I checked Discogs just now and there are copies available. It is worth your money buying a copy of this. Experimental guitar music doesn’t get much better than this.

Chord – Gmaj7 (Mie Music) 2012

Posted in Chord, Drone, Music with tags , on May 14, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Chord last made an appearance on this blog several years ago when they released the superb Flora. That record was one of my first experiences with post-doom drone metal. Chord are a  bit of a Chicago drone super-group with members of Pelican and the drummer from US Maple. Chord’s method is to use a single chord and explore it harmonically. The two tracks on Gmaj7 offer very different interpretations of the chord in question. The first track Stasis had me asking myself whether drone could actually be aggressive. For the most part those who explore drone musically end up with a passive, meditative work.Although there are several layers of drone in the track the  top layer felt like it was  being pushed to an extremity, so much so that the drone actually lost form at some point to start reverberating.The most startling moment was around 10 minutes in where everything faded to white and the creep factor set in. It created a truly remarkable effect and only got better when after a few minutes the band’s metal roots began to show as a darkening doom spread through the rest of the track. The second track Kinesis is  much more rock orientated with a great live feel. Drums make an appearance and the repetitive guitar phrases make the track feel much more accessible than the first. There is a quasi post-rock flavour to it that is particularly engaging without being corny in the slightest. I prefer Gmaj7 to their earlier work on Flora. Chord have a wonderful sound that doesn’t pander to fashion or tries to be deliberately obtuse for the sake of it. In fact Stasis may be my favourite instrumental track of the year so far. An album suited to teh long Antipodean winter ahead.

Gate – The Dew Line (Mie Music) 2012

Posted in Drone, Gate, Music, The Dead C with tags , on April 11, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

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Gate is the name used for the Dead C’s Michael Morley’s solo output. A few years ago I was lucky enough  to get a copy of his remarkable electronica infused record, Republic of Sadness. That record was a strange yet totally compelling blend of Morley’s wonky, codeine-infused, lo-fi vocals with almost Hot Chip style electronica. On paper it shouldn’t have worked but it was one of my favourite records of 2010. The excellent Mie Music have taken it upon themselves to re-release The Dew Line which originally came out in 1994 and is a very different from his most recent work. Mie Music have put a lot of thought into rereleasing this record and it now appears as a double vinyl set, remastered, with its initial seven tracks expanded to twelve to include some other previously unreleased material recorded about the same time. If you are a Dead C fan there is a treat in store with the unreleased tracks because three of them ended up as Dead C tracks  including the almighty Bitcher (from 1995’s Whitehouse)yet on The Dew Line  appear in a prototype form. This record has a great deal in common with the Dead C’s material from the same time period which I have always considered to be among their best. The Dew Line find Morley exploring his repetitive guitar lines and outsider vocals which no one could mistake for anybody else. Yet throughout these utterly unique songs  there are glimmers of Sonic Youth style tunings  and even a little Pavement-like song craft. Beyond those thoughts it very difficult to describe this claustrophobic, chaotic, almost on the brink of collapse experimental rock music. It is music that has to be experienced to appreciate and I recommend you do just that. The Dew Line is  an absolute pleasure from beginning to end and is well worth tracking down in it’s remastered form.

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