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Three drones in a row for me today! Aren’t I the lucky one? The drones on this record here have been constructed by some pretty illustrious names, though, with Kiwi bagpipe hero David Watson bagging his pipes, Neck Tony Buck drumming his drums and Lee “Lee Ranaldo” Ranaldo on guitar and bells and judging by the cover photograph some kind of weird circular disc-sander-looking bridge-mounted thing...or is that one of the bells?
The jams on here from this long-running but sparsely-documented trio were recorded in November 2005 and have since been rushed out on Three Lobed with some band pics taken in September 2011. I don’t know if they were playing the same pieces that are on this LP. They’re not exactly compositions, more freeform dronescapes/dark ambient sound buildings, with lots of slow-paced screech’n’fuzz scrottery, building ever so slowly into a cacophonous mountain of shimmering guitar, honking bag and skittering drum. If Watson’s piping for the first ten minutes he’s doing it pretty subtly, but he’s definitely there the rest of the time. There’s a nice bit towards the end of the first side when it gets a bit more percussive with some lovely trebly, scything guitar chords for a fab bit of psych grooving.
There’s over 40 minutes of music on this record and it’s all from this same school of freeform drone’n’chunter, with things getting even noisier and more skittish on the flipside as Ranaldo and Watson screech their way heavenwards and Buck clatters away Can-esquely on the drums. Not always a super palatable listen but these are varied, lively, explorative, emotional and accomplished jams nonetheless. There’s some truly frantic piping like I’ve never heard from a bag before or since towards the end which is worth the price of admission alone if you’re into noises you’ve never heard before.
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