Album Review

Brian Grainger – Silver Horns Heard Over Green Hills (Secret Station, 2010)


Brian GraingerTriad (Of Overcast Repetitions)

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Brain Grainger is an endless geyser of guitar drone with unmatched skillz. The dude just won’t fuckin quit. Last year alone he put out about a dozen albums (including those as Milieu). FUCK. There’s no way I can keep up with reviewing all the awesomeness. But Silver Horns Heard Over Green Hills was put out by Secret Station, a label I barely know from the free Lunar Testing Lab release, and it’s two discs so I figured it deserved my attention.

First of all, everything Grainger puts out is pure wonder. This is no different, except for the fact that there’s two and a quarter hours of wonder. I have yet to be able to listen to both discs straight through in one sitting. That’s good news, obviously, because there’s no such thing as too much drone.

There is an abundance of variance on Silver Horns, even for a minimal guitar drone record. Still, those 2+ hours have lots of themes & structures that run throughout, making it impressively cohesive without ever becoming boring or tiresome, never turning itself into a chore. Grainger sweeps it all together in a massive pile of sadbliss, pouring thick coats of misery & futility over glimmering joy. There are murky deeps swarming with confusion and dark clouds rolling over gloom soaked valleys, drone that’s devastating in the amount of depression & dread it evokes.

But there’s another side of the story, which isn’t so much pure bliss as it is a warm blanket of hope, the silver lining, the knowledge that heartfelt praise is right around the corner and you just need to wait out the storm. It’s as beautiful & uplifting as hopeless drone gets, eliciting euphoria out of heavenly darkness in a way that only Grainger can manage. The bliss is there, it’s just more difficult to see. Once you hone in on it and can fully appreciate the breadth of Silver Horns, you’re golden, and it becomes one of your favorite drone records.

Album Review

Brian Grainger – Diamond Tears On Slate (Dead Pilot, 2010)


Brian GraingerOpen Jaws Lined With Jagged Glass Teeth

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Goddamn, this guy never stops. Right after his release The Loneliness Of Empty Roads as Milieu, he puts out this 75 minute monolith on Dead Pilot, and he’s ALREADY got two more out, his “heaviest record yet” called One Bleak Try and Icepak, a Christmas EP on Bandcamp.

I guess we should be so lucky. Brian Grainger is one of the few dudes today that makes truly high quality tunes. Not the imitation shit. This is the real deal right here. And we get basically as much of it as we can handle.

Diamond Tears On Slate is some of his best work to date. Only 5 tracks but clocking in at 1 hour and 15 minutes, this is a massive slab of gorgeous static, starting out as almost the complete opposite of Empty Roads. This isn’t depressing or desolate, it’s beauty in its purest form, warm & inviting. It’s super lush, an infinite warehouse lined with golden grass & dust, drones that fill the space with closed eyes and half smiles, even the track “Open Jaws Lined With Jagged Glass Teeth” is a slow soaring euphoric trip over the mossy plains.

But it takes a turn towards the dark side on the title track, a minimal midnight creep with ghostly rumbles in the background. Then it gets murky as hell, like a swampy Italo-disco horror soundtrack slowed wayyy down and drugged out on morphine all while keeping a certain strange beauty hovering around. The final 13 minute track evens things out a bit, brings it out of the cave with waves of bubbling distortion that fade into the ocean.

Brian Grainger worked some drone voodoo into Diamond Tears, equal parts bliss & beast that mysteriously starts up again as soon as it’s over. Obviously a necessity to your neverending Grainger shelf, or the perfect one to let you in on the secret of his wondrous drones.