Review: V.A. - DRONE-MIND//MIND-DRONE vol. 1 (2011)


artist: Ube­boet / Halo Man­ash / Jarl / b°tong
release: DRONE-MIND//MIND-DRONE vol. 1
format: LP
year of release: 2011
label: Drone
dur­a­tion: 52:47

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

After an impress­ive 100 seven-inch releases, the Drone series by Drone Records recently came to an end. And while the ten-inches of Sub­stan­tia Innominata are still run­ning, the label decided to start a new range of records as well. The first eman­a­tion is this, volume one in the DRONE-MIND//MIND-DRONE series, LPs split between a selec­tion of dif­fer­ent artists, but still focus­ing on dark ambi­ent and drone music.

Span­ish pro­ject Ube­boet (a Dan­ish word mean­ing ‘unin­hab­ited’) kicks off side A with two won­der­ful tracks. Both are are deep for­ays in dark ambi­ent ter­rit­ory with mys­ter­i­ous chanted vocals and other samples, and won­der­ful use of violin in the back­ground in the second track. A pos­sible ref­er­ence here would be raison d’être, although Ube­boet dis­plays a slightly more subtle style here. Excel­lent work!

A famil­iar name for we was the Finnish pro­ject Halo Man­ash, who’ve done excel­lent work in ritual ambi­ent in the past dec­ade or so. The two tracks here are sparser than some of their mater­ial, eschew­ing heav­ier per­cus­sion in favor of drones based on deep gongs and horns. Both are excel­lent pieces with an emphasis on sus­tained tones and room for air.

The B-side opens with one long track by Jarl, and one that has quite a dark and thrill­ing atmo­sphere. A two-tone loop and some of its har­mon­ics form the basis of the whole track, over which are laid all sorts of drones, plucked piano strings, and tiny effects and samples.

b°tong closes this four-way split album with four shorter tracks. The first is based on a dis­tor­ted and manip­u­lated voice sample, while the second his a more acqueous drone sound, with bubbles and cur­rents. The third is the longest, some six minutes, and it is built on loop­ing soft sounds, again with a bit of a watery and echo-y feel to it. The final track, “Pam”, is more in the dir­ec­tion of tra­di­tional ‘dun­geon’ dark ambi­ent: oppress­ive echoes, metal­lic clangs, and drip­ping mois­ture.

The LP is a fas­cin­at­ing show­case for four dif­fer­ent drone and ambi­ent artists, and that is per­haps the essence of everything ever done by Drone Records. Although I have a per­sonal pref­er­ence for the A-side here, there is much to love, and subtle vari­ation in the present­a­tion of these four artists. A glor­i­ous debut on col­oured vinyl for this new series, and a highly recom­men­ded release for all dron­ers out there. Here’s to the future!

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Ube­boet – Akasa
2. Ube­boet – Agone Revis­ited
3. Halo Man­ash – Hänesä Hen­get Eläwät
4. Halo Man­ash – Luiden Lukija

5. Jarl – Zero In Scream
6. b°tong – Vam
7. b°tong – Lam
8. b°tong – Ram
9. b°tong – Pam

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