TWENTY!! Goddamn right. The Top Drone list could no longer be contained by the traditional 10. I’m not doing 20 because there was just too much awesome drone this year. While that’s true, it’s also true every year. No, I’m doing it because there were so few standout albums. Everything was so fucking awesome it’s like everyone juiced their skills but were all stopped by a glass ceiling or something. I mean my Top 5 are almost interchangeable. Well, not really, but sort of.
So, as usual, this list is about my personal favorite droners. Nothing objective going on. And, like AGB in general, I tend to favor the under-represented. And I don’t usually allow reissues, but I had to bend the rules a bit for no other reason than that one reissue is so, so fucking good and I didn’t know it was a reissue until I started making this list.
And you know I only write about the highest quality shit. So anything that was posted this year and tagged as Drone is basically just as good as everything you’ll see on this list. So browse that genre if you’re still jonesing for some more drone.
Onto the list!
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Be Honest – Tea, Sugar (Fallow Field)
Goddamn this is a special fucking record. Ian Maleney’s first under the Be Honest name and it’s inspired by/has field recordings from the rural Irish bogland making some truly exceptional drone. The only recognizable samples I hear are bird chirps (done quite tastefully) and maybe some rain (not too sure about that though), the rest is impeccable guitar drones and subliminal synths, the two side long tracks acting as polar opposites, the first starting out with a soft & bright drone that quickly turns into an overwhelming dense dark static, snarling & growling but never actually biting, subtly beautiful with melodies buried in the noise, briefly breaking off into a calmer haunted dream, then bursting through again with the gorgeous abrasion. The B side takes a lighter approach, very playful & soothing, a couple layers of processed picking laid on top of vague nature, an organic warmth that feels sun drenched & slightly melancholic, undeniably beautiful, and just fucking perfect. Not too many of the bad boys were made, only 50 on Maleney’s newly minted Fallow Field label, so get white the gettin’s good.