Album Review

Top 30 Drone Records Of 2016

I did it! I made a list. I didn’t think it would happen being a new dad and all, but it happened. I’m going to try to make a Top Metal list too, but no promises.

At 30 entries, this is the longest Top Drone list I’ve made. But I’ve been eschewing reviews lately and focusing on AGB Radio and A Thick Mist, so I figure 30 is acceptable if you count how many records I’ve directly recommended over the past year.

I seem to continually expand my definition of what a Drone Record is, which means there’s probably a few on here that are stretching the confines of that label, but I still did my best to try to keep it as Drone as possible.

There’s plenty of reoccurring themes in here. Namely, lots of voices/singing (11 have vocals present at least somewhere on the record) and lots of organs & harmoniums. Neither of those are all that surprising, though. But there’s two solo records from drummers, so that’s kinda cool. There’s also two heavily inspired by traditional Indian music, also kinda cool.

I had fun with this one. I changed a few things up this year. First, I decided to exclude any artist that’s been on any previous list. This meant no Saåad, Roly Porter, Andrew Weathers, Sarah Davachi, Mamiffer, Ian William Craig, Danny Paul Grody, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, etc. (Seriously though go listen to the new Saåad and Mamiffer records.) No one likes to see the same people on such a niche list over and over again, so this was a good way to keep things new and exciting.

The other thing I decided to do was not rank this in the traditional way. Instead, I put the records in positions 7-30 into four groups of six, and the records within each group aren’t ranked. So that means the records in group 7-12 aren’t ranked, aside from me liking them more than the previous 13-30 drone records. I did this except for the top 6, which are ranked traditionally. I hope it’s not too confusing.

As usual, I try to keep the Big Droners off this list because anyone who’s a fan of drone probably already knows that Eluvium and Tim Hecker put out records this year and while their music is A+ Amazing, they don’t really need a little DIY blog to help them out.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music.

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Album Review

STREAM PREMIERE: Shovels Beat The Sun – Sky Wires (Bitrot, 2016)

Shovels Beat The Sun - Sky Wires album cover

I’m so so fucking psyched about this. This record was going to be on my Top Drone list last year, but they had to delay the release date… UNTIL NOW.

Shovels Beat The Sun is the duo of two of my favorite droners: Björn Granzow (aka The End Of The World Championship) and Steve Fors (aka Aeronaut, The Golden Sores) and this monolithic slab-o-static Sky Wires is their debut of jaw-dropping, face-slapping, brain-smashing drone. This is The Shit. Heavy, heavy shit, that weighs on your soul as much as your eardrums, an angsty sadness that flips off climaxes and is just solid hypnobliss right from the start, sounding like amplifier worship that forgoes the amps and takes the distorted scorch to a whole new level, absolutely fucking gorgeous, impenetrable and otherworldly, this is every perfect drone record rolled together and tangled up in a masterful meditative mindmelt.

Shovels Beat The Sun get the honor of being the first physical release from Siavash Amini’s Bitrot label. Limited to 100 hand-numbered CDs, each with a generative unique machine-cut pattern, this is essential Drone in every sense. Officially released this upcoming Friday, September 9, you can knab a copy over at Bitrot and stream the whole thing below.