Coming from a branch of minimalism, drone music evolved in different ways since music pioneers as La Monte Young and John Cale started experimenting with clusters and long sustained notes. In 2013 we saw a lot of good releases in this genre (Tim Hecker’s Virgins as an example) but a fast growing underground scene still offers tons of material to listen to.
From ambient to shoegaze, from doom to glitch, drone music involves lots of different styles. Here a short list of exemplar records to discover what this music scenario recently offered. Each of these artists has a peculiar way to use drones and soundscapes. Find out how through this short article.
T.G. Olson of Across Tundras offers a stunning mixture of dronescape and fuzzy guitar sounds that strongly reminds of some kind of desert rock sonorities. Last March he shared on his Bandcamp account The Complete Blood Meridian For Electric Drone Guitar: a collection of twenty-four compositions that masterfully lead into a land made of hazy vibes and harsh tones. This artist from Nashville surely knows how to combine western atmospheres and lysergic sounds. An essential record for all the fans of long sustained guitar feedback.
Scotland based composer Ben Chatwin recently released Eaten Alive under his stage name Talvihorros. Characterized by dark and neo-classical tones, his work combines guitar arrangements and electronic effects, creating dilated compositions and foggy atmospheres. The tracks are filled with lots of electronics beats and piano lines, constantly supported by a marvelous guitar phrasing. The whole track list shows a great ability in mixing the drone stereotypes with a peculiar interpretation of ambient music. Surely another great composer from Denovali‘s catalog.
Ian Watson‘s project Swefn offers that kind of drone music that easily flows into glitch and field recordings. Latest release Glimmer (out December 30) contains six new tracks, showing the best way to put noise music into an ambient soundscape. Creating exquisite esoteric compositions, he found the way to get into an universe made of lo-fi samples, weird background rumors and cosmic-flavored sounds. All of this combined with a great use of glitchy drones and obscure keyboard patterns.
Musique Concrete always had a main role in the growth of drone and ambient music. Hannah Hoch’s Floeberg stands in this land where sounds and loops aren’t any pre-recorded material. As this Chicago based artist says, all the loops and samples weren’t recorded in advance for the making of this record. Floeberg pictures a spooky and ethereal landscape with a glance to some early industrial releases. To have a taste of these vibes, stream here this six track album: going through the record is like drowning into an ocean of silent dark waves.
And now a record that still has to be released but you can already stream online in its entirity. Gnod latest record The Somnambulist’s Tale (out February 2nd via Aguirre Records) offers two long compositions, with a constant loop in the background and sparks of conversations, guitar echoes, musique concrete creating an acid atmosphere. Probably more New Wave-oriented than the other records on the list, this album perfectly defines the border of some kind of drone music, melting the background effects with a ritual percussion line. No other way to discover the world they created but streaming the two tracks on their Bandcamp.