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Various ‎Artists – Drone-Mind // Mind-Drone Volume 6


Various ‎Artists - Drone-Mind Mind-Drone Volume 6Now into its sixth volume of lovingly curated drones, the latest collection in this series brings together Nam-KharMarkian Volkov, For Kings And Queens and Kevin Durr. The four contributors offer up a varied palette of clanks and heaving synthesis (Nam-Khar), thunderously immersive bass beat repetition (Markian Volkov), shimmering sine wave operatics (For Kings And Queens) and the whispering, rippling liquidities of Kevin Durr’s “Water Drone”, parts one and two.

This edition comes on subtly marbled deep blue vinyl, crafted nicely to match the tones of Pete Greening‘s suitably abstract paintings, offset and highlighted by the neat gold spot colours on the front cover’s 3D-effect op-art design. It’s worth noting once again just how much Greening’s sleeves add to the aesthetic of the Drone-Mind // Mind-Drone series too, and they are works of art deserving of framing in their own right.

Not easily absorbed in a rush, nor meant to be, the LP’s seven tracks (For Kings And Queens’ “Grenzland” is the longest at twelve minutes, so there was obviously only room for one piece from them) do their level best to turn off the counting tick of clocks and track times, successfully pushing away temporality the more they are absorbed into the concentrated effort of simply listening, rather than monitoring. It’s conceivable that this album might excel at being background ambience in the right setting, but reveals so much more when listened to in depth and in detail — and especially at volume.

The rafts of bass on Nam-Khar’s “Sunuxsal A” rumbling beneath the glitter and scratch of textural motifs lead into hefty percussive heartbeats, crisply rendered and emerging omnipresent among the folded synthesizer spars and interjected voiceless words. This and the spasming electrical shudders of Markian Volkov’s “Battle Ritual” are anything but quiet, or only in the way that the pounded plastic containers deployed over the years by the likes of Einstürzende Neubauten could be considered calm and soothing.

Invigoratingly heavy, this and Markian Volkov’s other — and even more hectic — intensely onrushing rhythmic noisescape of “Transition” find their counterpoint in on side B with “Grenzland”, a liminal space where radio waves, both real and imagined, waver among the heavily processed vocals and shrill frequencies stabbing sharp and clearly, straight into the centre of an ethereal imaginary space-age soundtrack to something truly and deeply alien.

The flooding rise of that “Water Drone” maintains the vocal motif, but here it is up close and right into the ears, sibilant and subtle, discernible if desired, but perhaps best left undeciphered in the end. Durr communicates a claustrophobic presence that goes beyond words, the backmasking and layering cut up into the relentless trickle, one which might be better listened to with an empty bladder. It’s intriguing the way that one elemental sound can apparently transform over time into another; the ripples and crepitating run of liquids morph and are wrung out thoroughly, evolving through the alchemical application of hallucinatory studio mixing and layering into something that could as easily be fire in other circumstances, or even go by another name entirely.

-Linus Tossio-

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