Saturday, 19 October 2013

Everybody's Droning On The Weekend

That headline (and indeed lead picture - but that's nothing unusual here...) is a slight misnomer - some of these acts aren't really drone, just are producing instrumental pieces that offer differing styles of repetition - but I thought that seeing as most weekend mornings are spent in varying stages of a fugue state, why not try to provide a soundtrack for it? Let's see if any of these five acts fit the bill...

One band that does fit into the drone zone is English act Dwellings, whose Don't Say Nothing LP has just started shipping out of Trensmat Records. Originally out on Tesla Tapes, it's a heady leap forward from the split release they did with Druss that was "presented" by Britain's progenitors of black drone alchemy GNOD (seeing as Dwellings is the mask behind which GNOD bassist Chris Haslam resides, and Tesla Tapes was started by the band), encompassing as it does the double-helix concoction of trance-inducing percussion and heaving swarms of industrial ambiance. Say what? Trust me, when these elements meld into each other, a metallic sheet of white ephemera that beguilingly lingers in the air like burnt ozone. Buy Don't Say Nothing here.

Bathetic Records are privy to some good dronal material, and the latest act they have gotten behind with such a proclivity is Matthew Sullivan's LA ephemeral crawl experiment, Earn. On the new LP Hell On Earth, Sullivan strikes out on weightless travails through unfocused streets and neon lights - pastels and fluorescence out of sync, floating towards the precipice of unconsciousness and unconscionable acts, yet never allowing you to slip under the covers of darkness - a constant bucolic wrestle for the soul. A fair tangent from the harsh noise loops of the past, Hell On Earth  nevertheless upholds the uneasiness, the fleeting moments of clarity hidden amidst a miasma of half-images and clouded ideas - and is all the more entrancing because of its obtuseness. I definitely recommend picking this up here.

Over to New Zealand now and Wellington post-rockers Sunken Seas. They visited Australia a few months ago but didn't make it as far north as Queensland; let's not hold that against them, especially when we see how on-song they are on their Cataclysm EP. Ryan Harte's vocals are making more of a presence amidst the shuddering, shimmering walls of noise that cloister around them, threatening to topple at any moment in a cataclysmic torrent of fury. Again mired in emotions as dark as the political despair Sunken Seas engenders to unearth, Cataclysm turns the mirror onto the souls of the band, in a room of mirrors shining out on the world. As in its cyclical, and emblematic of a rising emotion, here etched in noise. Despite the squall it all sounds crystalline and precise - these guys know exactly what they're doing. Cataclysm is out now through Muzai Records.

A blog that is no strange to the world of drone is Colorado-based alum Tome To The Weather Machine. One of its creators Ryan Hall has branched out and started his own digital-only singles label, Heligator Records, and the first piece to come from the newly-minted stable is a beauty. 'Agrimony (Porch Music)' is a collaboration between Lake Mary and Nathan Wheeler, an 11 minute pastoral glory that is anchored on the delicate, plaintive pluckings of a six-string acoustic guitar and Wheeler's pump organ. (Imagine Black Eagle Child territory) Its the kind of floating gem that can fill you head with all kinds of Malick-esque ruminative natural montages - then the postscript is a pretty hilarious bursting of the bubble. More please.

And let's finish with a prodigy, shall we? Henry Plotnick is but a babe in the woods - ELEVEN years young to be exact - yet with Fields he has crafted nine sonorous suites of cyclical, coalescing soundbites of light. The experimental complexities and professional acumen present in these looping, kaleidoscopic classics defies explanation - it's good enough to be the lighthearted musings of William Basinski, or the nightmarish daydreams of David Lynch if 'Field 4' is anything to go by, let alone the machinations echoing forth from the mind of a child not ready to leave primary school yet. Holy Mountain have snatched Plotnick up (figuratively speaking, of course), and it's a coup of sorts - if this is what he is capable of now, give him five, ten, fifteen years. Seriously blown away by this. You can, and bloody well should, buy Fields here (how many people IN GENERAL can claim to have a double LP out which is winning global critical acclaim? Jesus.)

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