Interviews

Questions For High Aura’d

high aura'd at pa's lounge 2
 
Dark droner High Aura’d whose amps burn white aimed straight for my heart on his contribution to You’re All The Fucking Best with his track dedicated to my dear departed bunny, Hodge. His kindess extended to honoring me with a response to these questions I posed to him.
 
What is the best way to die?
To live on in another form

How do you think you’ll die?
With a bang, not a wimper.

What makes you happy?
Expressing love through work, my family & friends, nature

How can you die happy?
By knowing I tried to be kind and helpful to others

How close have you come to death?
Once, as a child, I stepped into a busy street and was pulled back…just in time

What does kindness mean to you?
Acting on compassion, and having no regard for reward

Where do you find love?
In my family, the suffering of others, through my work, in loss

When were you most afraid?
We have a fenced in backyard. once, while making dinner, the girls wanted to go outside in the yard and play.
It was a nice Summer day.
I kept an eye on them, but soon noticed that I couldn’t see our then 2 year old.
I had not checked to make sure the fence gates were closed and locked and she had slipped out.
I ran frantically through the house, and yard to make sure, she hadn’t just come in to use the bathroom.

We found her, up the street, 3 houses down, playing in a flowerbed.
I don’t wish that on anyone.

How do you listen to music?
Intently, and looking for love.

Concert Review

Giles Corey, Planning For Burial, High Aura’d, Ehnahre at PA’s Lounge

Presented by Anti-Gravity Bunny

 
Ehnahre



 
High Aura’d


 
Planning For Burial


 
Giles Corey

Top 10 Drone Records Of 2012

A couple months ago I was lamenting that 2012 had shit for good drone records. The words of a madman, clearly. This year was chock full of goodness, although to be honest, nothing this year is quite as good as my favorite drone record from 2011, Nicholas Szczepanik’s Please Stop Loving Me, which will always be the best thing ever. Still, there’s tons of amazing drone this year and it was damn near impossible to keep it trimmed to a tidy 10.

I know genre-specific lists are already niche enough, but I decided to give myself a couple new rules to help narrow my focus. First was defining “Drone Record,” which I hadn’t really done before. If you know the site, then you’ll know my drone tag is liberal. I throw that fucker on everything. But to me, for a record to be on a list of drone records, its top-level genre has to be drone. If I was cataloging it by genre, it would have to go under “Drone.” Not “Noise,” not “Black Metal,” not “Doom,” not “Folk.” Those could be sub-genres, just not the main one. This cleared out a lot of records. It meant I couldn’t include Horseback’s Half Blood (probably my favorite non-drone record this year), Gates’ Eintraum, Sutekh Hexen’s Behind The Throne, etc.

Second, I decided no reissues or box sets. I’ve sorta followed this one in the past, but I didn’t want highly publicized massive tomes like William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops or Pauline Oliveros’ epic 12 disc Reverberations stealing the thunder here.

As you know, I only write about the most top notch shit that gets me super psyched. Every drone record that came out this year and I reviewed should be on this list. So go digging through the drone tag and find the rest that just barely missed the cut. They’re all #11.
 
 

10. Moonshine BluesThrough (Hidden Vibes)
“Floating in the grey and rapt in heartache, while sheets & swells of euphoria shimmer in the dark, dragged to the edge of oblivion and left alone…”

One of the best drone releases this year is free. So go download this bleak beast right now and you can feel totally guilt free doing so. And it came out of left field, too. Self released (on his own label), solo Ukrainian guy making some sad fuckin jams, usually as Endless Melancholy, but venturing out into more “ambient” territory as Moonshine Blues. He’s got this blues drone thing down pat and it was more or less an experiment. A+ dude.
 
 

9. WastelandersCosmic Despair (Calls & Correspondence / Basses Frequences / Space Idea / Hewhocorrupts Inc.)
“The first few tracks are as depressing as it gets, gloom thick enough to asphyxiate on, solid minimal melancholy that turns your heart into lead and brings gods to tears.”

Gloomy. As. Fuck. The kind of sadness reserved for royalty eulogies & the internal monologue leading to suicides. Long torturous tracks that take the cake for most depressing drones. And super fucking gorgeous.
 
 

8. ConcernMisfortune (Isounderscore)
“…nervous nondescript fumbling & fidgeting to keep busy while the drones flutter, then a huge blissful shimmering cloud of hand-wringing uncertainty, slightly transparent and hovering right in front of the sun.”

Edgy box harp drone that’s as jangling as it is soothing. When a drone record has a certain novelty (like an atypical instrument as the primary focus) I usually get sucked in regardless, but this one is outstanding in its own right. A bittersweet swansong from Concern, Misfortune being the last release under that moniker. One of two Isounderscore releases on this list because that label is 100% quality.
 
 

7. Andrew Weathers & Andrew MarinoWe Don’t Have Sun Like This (Full Spectrum)
“…always with a delicate tenderness that feels like Weathers is hugging you through your speakers.”

A unique book release with no physical music included. Marino did the photos for the book and Weathers’ tunes come via download. I honestly can’t get enough of Weathers. Everything he does is magic. The absolute perfect blend of folk & drone, he fucking nails it every time. His banjo can do no wrong and his voice is probably the only one that should be allowed to sing over drone.
 
 

6. PortraitsPortraits (Important)
“…an impossibly minimal drone that’s almost too beautiful to handle.”

The supergroup to end supergroups (this time it’s true I promise). Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Evan Caminiti, Jon Porras, Gregg Kowalsky, Marielle Jakobsons, and Maxwell August Croy to name about half of them, all working in perfect unison, somehow making harmonies that I still can’t wrap my head around. Long form drones that some work years to achieve, these guys kicked out while they all still have their regular bands & shit going on. Unreal.
 
 

5. Kyle Bobby DunnIn Miserum Stercus (Komino)
“…the soft subtleties & elegant dances are still the core, but instead of charming or uplifting, we’re given somber & melancholic, tones dipping into ethereal, haunted dreams…”

Nope, not Bring Me The Head Of…, this one is better because it’s darker and a more unique addition to KBD’s discography. Plus it’s just better. The most beautiful misery I’ve ever heard, overwrought but without tension, intimate & devastating, delicate & harrowing. This is Dunn at the top of his fucking game.
 
 

4. EUS, Postdrome, & SaåadSustained Layers (BLWBCK)
“Dense and soaring, black anvil clouds rolling over open plains, always on the edge, seeing the sun rays glow and the grey mass shift, an impending fury that always threatens, never breaks…”

This is beyond gloom. This is as dark as you get before you hit black ambient. It would be downright terrifying if it wasn’t so fucking majestic. And I’d never heard of any of these three guys or the label before. Totally opened my eyes to a new minimal darkness. Supremely awesome.
 
 

3. Nicholas SzczepanikThe Truth Of Transience (Isounderscore)
“…a wonderful long form rhythm, it starts out menacing, all horror movie suspense style, with percussive gong-like warnings and imitation bowed cymbals, turning into a loud and blissfully unnerving swirl that eventually fades to nothing…”

Szczepanik put out 3 records this year (this, We Make Life Sad, and Luz, a collab with Federico Durand as Every Hidden Color). And Szczepanik is probably my most favoritest droner right now so why & how the fuck did I chose just one? First, not only did he take the number one spot last year but he was on that list twice (his Ante Algo Azul series couldn’t be skipped). And while this is a totally biased & subjective list, I still feel the need to be a little fair to everyone who’s not Szczepanik. I mean, if he put out 10 records, chances are they’d comprise the whole list, so I tried to restrain myself and only picked one. While Luz is incredible, it didn’t hit me the way his other two did. And We Make Life Sad is one of the most personal and unique albums this year, truly amazing, but I thought I could exclude it due to it being less droney than The Truth Of Transience. Oh, and because Transience is fucking stunning. Out of the three, this one unquestionably wins the gold.
 
 

2. High Aura’dSanguine Futures (Bathetic)
“…a foggy midnight journey through the middle of the ocean, with distant muffled canons fighting off some ancient sea beast, mythical & literal sirens wailing, calling with sweetness & alarm, chimes and clatter rattling in the still darkness…”

How the hell did High Aura’d make a record this goddamn good? Seriously, this is amazing in so many ways. Dark & minimal rumblings that breathe soft and threaten your life. I literally can’t imagine him ever making a better record than Sanguine Futures and it’s only his third outing as High Aura’d. I’m pretty sure he will at some point, though, because this dude gets exponentially better with each release. But even if he doesn’t, this is a black star that’ll forever outshine so many other records.
 
 

1. SuperstormsSuperstorms (Experimedia)
“Crushed bits and burnt clouds, a blurred fury dipped in bliss, sunsets viewed through a grit lens, a trillion grey sky pixels fractured with the glow shining through, brittle static & warm drones blown out, scratched out, washed out…”

There’s a lot of dark & depressing shit on this list (tough times this past year) but the Number One sidesteps my masochism in favor of something that resonates so profoundly with me. Superstorms crafts the kind of drone that I feel is at my core, the kind of drone I crave more than any other: gritty, blissful, and fucking loud. I feel most at peace when records like this are so loud they obscure everything else in my brain. I can barely stand how fucking awesome Superstorms is. Serious next level drones. I’ve never heard anything else quite like it. I hope that you like this even half as much as I do because FUUUCK I love it too fucking much and the world would be a better place if everyone shared in this stupidly perfect love.

Album Review

High Aura’d – Sanguine Futures (Bathetic, 2012)


High Aura’dThe Northern Sky Ablaze (Bathetic)

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It seems like maybe this is High Aura’d's (thee John Kolodij) big one. He recruited the mighty Greg Kelley for his trumpet powers, got Simon Fowler to create a masterpiece for the artwork, had John Twells (Type, Xela, etc) produce & mix it, and dipped it in lead with James Plotkin’s mastering. Not to mention that this is his first slab of vinyl, and it’s on Bathetic, and it’s already been praised to the high heavens by everyone including the fucking Boston Globe. But today is its official release, and I can pretty much guarantee Sanguine Futures will end up somewhere on my year end drone list, so this is my authorized stamp of approval that this record is the fucking BEST.

It seems like with each release Kolodij’s gotten darker & darker, which is A+ in my book, and this one is by far the blackest he’s gone. With the exception of a singular jaw dropping moment of euphoria (and trust me, it’s a special fucking moment), this is mostly all ominous rumble, running the line of doom and black ambient. He’s been pretty metaphoric with the water theme in the past, but this is overt and unmistakable, starting the album off with watery samples. This whole thing is like a foggy midnight journey through the middle of the ocean, with distant muffled canons fighting off some ancient sea beast, mythical & literal sirens wailing, calling with sweetness & alarm, chimes and clatter rattling in the still darkness, the crazy dude on top of the mast playing his song of mourning, the much saner dude in the hull with his heartache piano, everything sad and black, but not quite devoid of hope. Seriously pushing all of my drone buttons right now, ranking in the very top of records this year and likely for years to come. This is Kolodij at the top of his fucking game. Dude is already unstoppable and this is only his first vinyl. If you haven’t been keeping an eye on him yet, now’s the fucking time.

Concert Review

One-Armed Mist, Northern Machine, Prehistoric Horse, High aura’d, Gang Clan Mafia at The Griffen Theatre

Presented by Sonorium.
 

Gang Clan Mafia

 
High aura’d

 
Prehistoric Horse

 
Northern Machine

 
One-Armed Mist

Top 10 Drone Records Of 2011

This year’s list was too damn hard. There was just so much awesomeness, it was almost impossible to keep it to 10. That’s just how lists are, I guess.

Since this is an AGB list and AGB = me, I allowed myself the freedom that an indie blogger should have. Namely, defining “drone” however I damn well please. However, I still had some criteria. If a record had some songs that were hardly drone at all, but still embodied the drone aesthetic as a whole, I kept it. There were plenty of records that I wanted to mold into the list but no matter which way I looked at it, they just couldn’t be considered “drone” (especially the new Ricardo Donoso and Colin Stetson albums).

If you’re new here, there are sound samples on all of the original reviews and I beseech you to listen to anything on this list you have yet to hear. I assure you it will be worth your time 100%. But…

On to the list! On to the heckling!


10. High Aura’dMooncusser (YDLMIER)
“Soaring Windy & Carl euphoria, brief Fahey picks, and a wall of absolute beauty.”

Boston’s killerest scene stomping dude on Boston’s raddest darned tape label.


9. Nicholas SzczepanikAnte Algo Azul (self released)
“There’s mournful Basinski textures, sci-fi tractor beams, static harmonies, Eliane Radigue homages, all wrapped in Szczepanik’s own meditative perspective.”

Technically 12 separate items but they’re all Ante Algo Azul. And the ID3 tags on the official downloads have each one as an individual track of the full 12 song “album.” So suck it. Plus, this shit is the greatest.


8. Mind Over MirrorsThe Voice Rolling (Digitalis)
“Stretched out gauze floating through pink/grey bliss, endless layers of reed textured harmonies, all of the fantastic things about harmoniums but given a new life through Fennelly.”

Harmoniums always do it for me and this is like the harmonium record to destroy all harmonium records.


7. MountainsAir Museum (Thrill Jockey)
“Mountains bounce back and forth between straight up drone and pulsing minimal space techno, keeping a nice balance, never cemented in their textured planar earthly past but not jumping ship for the OPN New Age.”

Always keepin me on my toes. Mountains took it to the next motherfuckin level on this one.


6. EmuulThe Drawing Of The line (Digitalis)
“Blurred & blown out drones that breathe heavy, swaying in the breeze, scorched at the edges.”

Sad n blissful. Zen x100.


5. RaleSome Kissed Charms That Would Not Protect Them (Isounderscore)
“…a heaving sweetheart, giving you massive swells of dense intimidation… conjuring images of watching a thunderstorm roll in on the beach… enjoying it without fear and wallowing in the glory of the lightening sky, the majesty of nature beautifully overwhelming.”

Rale fucking nailed it on this one. And no one knows about it! Only 300 copies made, came out in May, and it’s still available. What’s wrong with you people! This is truly original and has AMAZING packaging.


4. Lawrence EnglishThe Peregrine (Experimedia)
“Like the finest grade sandpaper, with a tooth so smooth, the grit almost disappears and you’re left with drone as glorious as humanly possible.”

Didn’t think Mr. English could make something more satisfying than Kiri No Oto but goddammit he sure did. Unreal.


3. Kyle Bobby DunnWays Of Meaning (Desire Path)
“This is the most delicate bliss I’ve ever experienced. 100% shining purity that doesn’t need to be cranked to 11 to get the job done. It swirls softly & effortlessly turns hearts into puddles of droney delight.”

First of all, KBD on vinyl? YES. Then, the best KBD record yet? Also, YES. It has one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard on it, too. It’s just math, you guys. Of course this is on the list.


2. Andrew Weathers EnsembleWe’re Not Cautious (Sleep On The Floor)
“It’s unbelievably warm, so rich & soft, tender & charming, absolutely beautiful in every way. It can be played at full volume and it won’t overpower, it’ll simply fill your home with the most delicately lush sounds you can imagine.”

Probably the least droney record on this list but it’s got enough to break into the official “Drone” category for me. Either way, this is literally one of the best records I’ve ever heard.


1. Nicholas SzczepanikPlease Stop Loving Me (Streamline)
“As wonderfully serene as it is, the whole time you’re wading waist deep in emotion, the sustained & intertwined tones heavy hearted, cascading heartache, longing, and hope. An elegiac softness matched with poignant massiveness that ends on the brightest, most uplifting note, fading into the horizon.”

This is the one. The best record of the year. Hands down. No contest. One of the best records of all time, in fact. I shit you not. As the kids say these days, unimpeachable. Or is it unfuckwithable? Lets just go with the universally understood: PERFECT.

Album Review

High Aura’d – Mooncusser (YDLMIER, 2011)


High Aura’dUntitled (Side A) (YDLMIER)

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More YDLMIER greatness, this time from thee mighty High Aura’d pumping out another year end contender. Boston’s number one guitar drone champ puts out his best album yet. Silky smooth feedback segues perfectly into toothy grit, a hundred layers of threatening underwater bliss, swirling in a tide pool of shimmering black gold, deep dark harmonies beaching themselves in the moonlight. Soaring Windy & Carl euphoria, brief Fahey picks, and a wall of absolute beauty. Too much of everything, if this were any more awesome I might die. Mooncusser fuckin throws it down.

Local note: there’s a YDLMIER tape release show on Friday Saturday night at Yes Oui Si. High Aura’d is playing with Patrick Emm, Symtomatic, and Eugene The Jeep at 8pm.

Concert Review

Barn Owl, High Aura’d, Lussuria, Stillbirth at O’Brien’s

Stillbirth: knock down drag out techno, glitched & warped, evolving into maelstrom of chaotic noise, completely fucked

Lussuria: black sludge drone, muffled tanks roll by, crawling through a tunnel of shit, briefly poke your head out into the harmonics

High Aura’d: below deck creaking, deep sea density, sky blue soaring to the sun bliss

Barn Owl: sunbaked psych drone from the masters carving out their own spot in the canyons, ended with some heavy fuckin doom shit venturing in Skullflower territory
 

Stillbirth

 
Lussuria

 
High Aura’d

 
Barn Owl



Album Review

High Aura’d / André Foisy Split (Stunned, 2011)


André FoisyUntitled (excerpt)

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KILLER SPLIT CITY. Almost TOO much awesome running through this tape. High Aura’d, Boston’s “up and coming” guitar droner John Kolodij, who probably got a lot of worshippers when they saw him opening for Barn Owl on tour last year, teams up with André Foisy, one half of the Locrian duo, who somehow manages to singlehandedly retain all the brilliance of Locrian.

Kolodij takes the A side with “Dusk Latitudes,” a 20+ drift through hazey space/time curves. His Americana stylings don’t show up immediately, instead doing some heavy breathing with the strings & pulses, layin the foundation for the resonant steel slides to come. It’s a foreboding piece, the unnerving tones that ring in your head the moments between the challenge to an old fashioned gun slinging duel and the duel itself. And then at about 7:45, the fucking chaos reigns down, blood pounding through your ears and clouding your eyes, heavy scary shit, a wall of reverb that only lasts as long as the gunfight, and the remainder is you lying full of holes in the bloody dust, surrounded by thick layers of warm drones, looking up at the enlightening sky, thinking about the sincere & beautiful. Truly fantastic stuff right here.

Foisy’s untitled piece is an amazingly perfect companion to “Dusk Latitudes,” the blackened psych string drones that saturate the afterlife. Not overly bleak in the beginning, it weaves a grey SotL/KBD type classical, with distant thunder and a deep sobriety, building patiently upon layers of tension, each minute that passes increasing the sense of gorgeous dread, eventually bringing in somber monk-like vocals that are buried in the gloom. The elegance of this is that it escalates to pillars of dense, grandiose, and terrifying noise drone but you don’t notice until it’s toppling over you with tortured screaming, a fury of electronics, and buzzing riffage that pours out of your speakers, black, painful, and loud as fuck.

I definitely didn’t imagine that High Aura’d & André Foisy would make a solid gold split together, but holy fuck this tape is unbelievable. Stunned always does great work but they totally outdid themselves with this one. Just fucking incredible stuff from both of these guys. Now is it too much to ask for a collaboration?

Video

High Aura’d – Dusk Latitudes

Stunned is putting out a split tape with High Aura’d (Boston bliss guitar droner) & André Foisy (half of Locrian) and it’s super fucking awesome. Until a) I get a review posted or b) the tape comes out, you can wet your lips with this excerpt of “Dusk Latitudes,” High Aura’d's side of the magical burner.

Album Review

High Aura’d – Third Life (Reverb Worship, 2010)


High Aura’dThird Life (Excerpt)

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High Aura’d is a Boston based dude making flat out ambient psych drone. I guess they used to be a duo (including on this record), but one of the guys dropped out and now it’s just John Kolodij. That’s entirely anecdotal, though, just what John told me when I saw him play with Barn Owl at PA’s Lounge. Speaking of, this record was made physically just for that tour, limited to 30 copies in totally fucking boss double color letterpressed high quality shit from Somerville’s Repeat Press and artwork by Jake Blanchard. Although it looks like you can still grab some on the Reverb Worship site (in £s).

Third Life is a single 25 minute track of aquatic heaven. So fucking beautiful. Mostly guitar oriented, High Aura’d makes washes of tones that shimmer pure gold. It’s the sound of floating underwater, totally immersed, face up and watching the sun dance. It’s enormous and slow moving, perfectly suited for the life of a bottom feeder. The whole world is open to you yet you’re happy to chill in your little bubble, giving yourself the opportunity to watch the universe quietly pass by.

Chill bliss, psych euphoria, full bodied gorgeousness, these are mere words compared to the ineffable transience that is Third Life. I have no idea what’s next on High Aura’d's plate, nor if they even have any previous releases, but if this near-EP length disc is any indication of their future, obviously Boston just won the experimental music scene award. AGAIN.

Concert Review

Barn Owl, MV & EE, The Body, High Aura’d at PA’s Lounge

High Aura’d: blissful oceanic guitar drone, shimmering watertops, glowing majestic heart, layers & layers of washing euphoria

The Body: the most massively evil live band I’ve seen since Portal, body destroying doom metal noise, the dude sang without a mic and I was still able to hear him, absolute fucking brutality

MV & EE: delicate & lush drugged out psych folk, twisted colors, daisy dreams float in the breeze, hazy fogged fields, electrified banjo-turned-sitar shredding

Barn Owl: sounded like this, except a hundred thousand times better because it was live and fucking unbelievably epic

More/bigger photos on Flickr.
 
 

High Aura’dHigh Aura'd

 
The BodyThe Body
The Body

 
MV & EEMV & EE
MV & EE

 
Barn OwlBarn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn Owl