Monday, 3 June 2013
It's pretty bleeding obvious that I love me some drone. It started with Mogwai, and continued along that path until albums by the likes of (but nowhere near exclusive to) Barn Owl, Ensemble Economique, Expo 70 and Robedoor consistently circle within my head like sharks in the water. Lee Noble has been an artist that has slowly risen in stocks for me to the point that the simultaneous release of his Ruiner and (reissue of) No Becoming albums through Bathetic Records was something of an event on Planet Masala.
What draws you in isn't the noise, it's the patience that it takes to get to the end point that you know will end in heartbreak and catastrophe; a controlled tension eked out on a knife's edge, time being stalled or stretched without warning. Noble's disembodied vocals are another cipher, an out-of-body experience that refuses to be pinned down, yet irrevocably draws the focus from the sleights of hand that are at play. Ruiner can be glacial and fragmented, isolating yet entrancing - like most drone, it takes you somewhere, often with hundreds of others around you, yet you are cocooned to all but your own experience, your own cryogenic dreamstate.
Yet there is a baroque air to Ruiner, a playful redolence that casts off the oppressive chains and allows the blood to pump through the veins once more. Hard to believe, but Noble at times seems insistent that he is crafting pop - an alien, subterranean version, yet pop all the same. So whilst the icy stabs through your brain still exist, there are counterpoints (often running tangential or parallel to the more industrial moments) where it can either hurt or refresh; paralyse or revitalise. Above all else, Ruiner offers a bruised beauty too - like most experimental music, it plucks at your fraying emotions, forcing you to feel.
You can buy both Ruiner (cover above) and No Becoming (the excellent cover at the top of the post) here.
Lee Noble - December ∞
Lee Noble - Demon Pond