Album Review

Top 30 Drone Records Of 2016

I did it! I made a list. I didn’t think it would happen being a new dad and all, but it happened. I’m going to try to make a Top Metal list too, but no promises.

At 30 entries, this is the longest Top Drone list I’ve made. But I’ve been eschewing reviews lately and focusing on AGB Radio and A Thick Mist, so I figure 30 is acceptable if you count how many records I’ve directly recommended over the past year.

I seem to continually expand my definition of what a Drone Record is, which means there’s probably a few on here that are stretching the confines of that label, but I still did my best to try to keep it as Drone as possible.

There’s plenty of reoccurring themes in here. Namely, lots of voices/singing (11 have vocals present at least somewhere on the record) and lots of organs & harmoniums. Neither of those are all that surprising, though. But there’s two solo records from drummers, so that’s kinda cool. There’s also two heavily inspired by traditional Indian music, also kinda cool.

I had fun with this one. I changed a few things up this year. First, I decided to exclude any artist that’s been on any previous list. This meant no Saåad, Roly Porter, Andrew Weathers, Sarah Davachi, Mamiffer, Ian William Craig, Danny Paul Grody, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, etc. (Seriously though go listen to the new Saåad and Mamiffer records.) No one likes to see the same people on such a niche list over and over again, so this was a good way to keep things new and exciting.

The other thing I decided to do was not rank this in the traditional way. Instead, I put the records in positions 7-30 into four groups of six, and the records within each group aren’t ranked. So that means the records in group 7-12 aren’t ranked, aside from me liking them more than the previous 13-30 drone records. I did this except for the top 6, which are ranked traditionally. I hope it’s not too confusing.

As usual, I try to keep the Big Droners off this list because anyone who’s a fan of drone probably already knows that Eluvium and Tim Hecker put out records this year and while their music is A+ Amazing, they don’t really need a little DIY blog to help them out.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music.

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Video

VIDEO PREMIERE: Joe Clark – Sleeptalker

 

 

You might not have heard of Joe Clark yet, nor even the label releasing his new tape, Throw Me In The Susquehanna on Glowing Window Recordings, but that’s probably all gonna change real quick because Joe is that fucking good and Glowing Window has already put out some insanely awesome tapes. Joe Clark is out of Rochester, NY, he’s been messing around as the guitarist in post-hardcore band Druse, but this is (as far as I can tell) his first solo release, and it’s absolutely fucking glorious, a dreamy guitar drone that fills every corner of the room, either with its delicate delayed whispers or its euphoric wall of static, lifting you up off the sodden floorboards and sending you straight through the roof to unnameable places, acting like a Babylon Candle for when you can only feel the place you want to be even if you can’t imagine it. Joe’s got an incredible talent for working with the loud/quiet dynamic without making it obvious or clichéd, for evoking melancholy and decay without resorting to the crumbling tape loop sound, and for nailing it 100-fucking-percent every moment of Susquehanna‘s painfully short life.

This video for “Sleeptalker” (the lead single from the tape) is a surreal haunted look into a retro-future full of half-forgotten memories and buried emotions making exquisite use of found footage that includes NASA stress tests, young lovers, missing teeth, the ocean, sky, sun, trees, and a humungous fire. Beautiful in every way.

Throw Me In The Susquehanna is coming out super soon, like, hopefully within days. There’s only 50 copies and it’s dirt cheap ($6) considering it was professionally dubbed and has pro-printed j-cards. It’s currently available for preorder on Planning For Burial’s Big Cartel page, because the man behind PFB, Thom, is the man behind Glowing Window, although I’m pretty confident you’ll be able to grab it on GW’s Bandcamp page soon enough. Speaking of which, head over there and grab the two other releases GW has available, they’re fucking AMAZZZING and you can name your own price.