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

Sunken Cathedral – Sunken Cathedral (Black Horizons, 2013)

sunken cathedral album cover
Sunken Cathedral – Movements 1 & 2 (Black Horizons)

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Ryan P. Jobes is quickly becoming a name that’s synonymous with killer records for me. So far I’ve heard this guy head up Night Worship and Cvbe Ov Falsehood, both of which are fucking excellent. Seems like everything this dude touches turns to brooding occult magick. This new project involves him playing everything you can imagine (guitar, harmonium, tape machine, violin, percussion, piano, harpsichord, etc) along with Kimberley Sutton on amplified cello/electronics and Evelyn Davis on a motherfucking pipe organ. Honestly, I was sold right there, but it’s way better than I even hoped. Two side long pieces of perfect drone broken into four movements, this thing is overwhelming, dark, and fucking huge. The drone of the Gods, this is straight up incredible, the pipe organ fuckin dominating your headspace, sucking out the breath of your soul, while the rest of the instruments join forces to create an atmosphere of runic tension, the feeling of being caught & sacrificed while spying on robed shamans worshipping unknown deities, their very presence sending you into a fit of terror while Sunken Cathedral rises up in your ears, droning black & beautiful, a monolith of otherworldly transcendence that you can’t help but hail as your one true master.

Album Review

Medroxy Progesterone Acetate – I Am An Empty House Longing To Be Haunted (Black Horizons, 2012)

Medroxy Progesterone AcetateThe Ghost Of Dried Wells (Black Horizons)

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The one & only Medroxy Progesterone Acetate is back with a fuckin beast of a double tape, 2 hours of insanity that gets the deluxe packaging treatment from Black Horizons (side note: the image up there is only an interpretation, a snippet of the full artwork). This is some downright fucked up shit, wavering between diseased drones, black ambient, filthy industrial, nightmarish noise, and drifting shimmer. All sorts of weirdness on here with Darren Bauler taking on most of the responsibilities and various friends adding such talents as “Possession States,” “Concussion Machines,” and “Recording Anomalies.” The sounds are fucking out of this world, disgusting & horrific, festering & boiling drones, straight from the demon’s stomach, voices abound, dazed whispers rambling paranoia and death, haunting your very soul, shrill tinnitus bleeding out of every pore until it’s no longer part of the tape, it’s taken up residence and infected your ears, subtle rhythms grow into discrete beats that sound like old rusted machinery trying to reclaim their previous lives, and strangest of all, the moments of pleasant dreams and blissful ambience, tiny beacons shining out of the rotted wasteland. The bleak & harrowing doesn’t get much better than this.