Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drones

No, not the people you work with, but the sound...some believe that the entire universe averages out to a single, reverberating tone, and whether or not that's true I have always enjoyed monotonic, shimmering soundscapes with as little variation or ornamentation as possible. One of the classics is Metal Machine Music, a series of alpha-wave generating pieces whose reputation as a chainsaw symphony of sonic punishment seems more based on its reception in the fern-bar milieu of 1970s yacht-rock than its actual sound (though maybe my sensibilities have been permanently clusterbombed by listening to all that Merzbow)...Metal Machine Music can sound too pop to some of us...

but the drones on Jliat's web site are perfect: pretty yet powerful, peaceful yet intense. Years ago I stumbled across the Jliat CD The Ocean of Infinite Being and bought it because the cover art was so great, and then listened to it and felt I'd found the drone holy grail. Ocean is available here, as well as some stuff that's even better (16.05.94; A long, drone-like piece of music...; Jliat "J").

This is good music to meditate to, space out with, go to sleep listening to, get a massage to...or just have playing in the background as sonic laudanum.

BTW, as you probably know, Indian classical music is based on drones rather than on a key signature; the harmonics created by a complex drone instrument like a tamboura make it possible for a skilled player to create a complex and satisfying raga using just three notes...I've heard this done and it's awe-inspiring. There are performances of Indian music that reveal the original purpose behind the raga system--allowing performers and listeners to tune in to the molecular machine musick of God's creation. The best example I know of this is Out of Stillness by Gopal Shankar Misra (also available on iTunes). (I know I've mentioned this CD before so please forgive the repetition.)

1 comment:

  1. grigorss12:36 PM

    If "Out of Stillness" is half as good as the R.D. Burman Tribute CD you sent me, it's worth it at twice the price -- I'm downloading it now...

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