Kevin Drumm's latest composition spans just one single track, a fifty minute drone that at times veers on the contemplative, beautiful side of ambient and at others falls off a cliff onto shards of white noise and atonal experiments. Loud, punishing and hateful sounds from one of drone's most vital and prolific artists.
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Noisemusic's most loveable curmudgeon is back (was he ever away?) with another superb aural feast for us lucky punters. This time it's a cd on Handmade Birds that's limited to 1000 and features one long track that's just under fifty minutes long. Drumm has been notable presence on the outer fringes of experimental music for well over a decade now and has always managed to stand out from the crowd no matter what he turns his hand to- whether it be microscopic free-improv, full-frontal noise assualt or longform drone meditations. This latest disc combines many of the elements he has been most celebrated for- moving from passages of brooding ambience to seething walls of static to haunting drones- sometimes even mixing these up for maximum disorientation.
If he was primarily known for his Keith Rowe on PCP style guitar work, or more recently as a slowmotion analogue synth fiddler, for this album he sounds like he's moved on to manipulating whole weather systems. The album starts off with a typically complex accretion of mostly unidentifyable sounds that is simultaneously immersive and threatening; with strange bass rumbles just audible through the enveloping ambient lull. Then with a typically brutal edit we are thrown out naked into a hissing static downpour, as a narcotic drone approaches in the distance and bestial, wraith like shrieks swoop in from all sides. And then Kevin decides to tear it all up with the mother-of-all thunder storms cut through with piercing shards of painful feedback that subside into the eerie elongated chimes of what sounds like a gamelan orchestra slowly being animated by spirits. Well, that's my attempt at describing just the opening ten minutes. Suffice to say then that the album continues in much the same way: drawing you in by evoking strange sonic allusions and then subverting the flow of sound he has built up with jarring contrasts- all done with an extraordinarily broad pallette of sounds.
All in all then, another great album; if his forthcoming album on Mego is anywhere near as good as this then the rest of the ambient/drone/noise brigade may as well give up and all get jobs at McDonalds, if they don't already work there.
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