What Drone Soul bring to the table was sheer bleak nihilism delivered with the drive and intensity of early 1980s post punk, screaming elements of old Bristol bands like Pop Group and the punkier edge of Blurt.
TWELVE HOUR FOUNDATION
The Lighter Shade Of Concrete - Inspired by a visit to Brean Down (see album cover) and the musique concrète techniques employed by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s John Baker during the 60s and early 70s, these pieces have been constructed entirely from sounds created using household objects.
Bottles, corks, tins, rulers, bike chains/horns, plastic tubing, wine glasses, pan lids, wire draining racks, electrical appliances… and a single guitar string, are the only instruments to be heard. The one exception – Human Soup – comprises nothing but sounds made by the body: clapping, gargling, breathing and cheek-popping.
Visuals / Film by Matt Hulse
featuring drawing by Sera James Irvine
It sounds like things were just turned on and everything was just left exactly where the person or people manning the instruments set them down, and now we’re hearing the results as they were recorded. It begins with feedback and heavy droning bass, and from there it just goes into many different dark sounds. There are cymbal crashes like a carnival, at one point our ears are soaked in warbling, creepy reverberated voices at a near whisper. There are elements of dark ambient and darkwave. In some small way it reminds me of a depeche mode in the bass line, and by the end of it I’m actually reminded of the last track of Tool's album “Aenima”.
The second of two tracks is where the bulk of the action occurs, being that this one is seventeen minutes long, three and a half times the length of the first track. It begins with snare and hi-hat, and what sounds like a chip-tune version of a hip hop beat, thick, harmonic plucks on a bass and single notes ringing out. The rest of the progression comes in slowly together into one cohesive melody, if a little purposefully off in the timing, it all starts to feel like everything is now being looped, when a guitar feedback and chord that rings out are added to the mix. Another guitar sound comes in louder and louder before the percussion cuts out again. cue the live distorted bass, sounding like a doom metal bass line. A very long and slow track, it is a true journey. now the vocal samples and a strange keyboard that reminds me of atari, also another wavy sound that reminds me of the early days of cartoons, when it was mostly experimenting, and highly dangerous and dark, even in its light-hearted moments.
Then, everything starts to get knocked around a bit, all the sounds and things, and it sounds like it all might burst from the seams, before another bass riff begins. I think there might be an actual song about to break, but then it becomes subdued again, quiet, and then I, with my assumption (and maybe a little bit of a hope), is put in its place. More strange samples that seem to speak maybe of lab experiments? This was a very difficult thing to try to review. That doesn’t mean I wish I hadn’t taken this on, due to not being well-versed in this style of music, because I love this sort of thing. It just means it’s harder to try to put in a more analytical context. In fact it’s almost impossible for me since I’m merely an amateur reviewer. I liked it though, not because of the name of the project being a quote from a Godspeed You Black Emperor! song, but because it is considered noise, which is far more interesting to me, to see what someone can come up with without having to try to remain true to a specific formula of riffs and “parts”. For that reason, though, it does make it harder to listen to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does occur to me that projects whose aim is to be borderline unlistenable, are exactly that, in an unintentional way. This was at least interesting, though.
Foehn is the working alias of Bristol-based Debbie Parsons, who formerly partnered Matt Elliot in Third Eye Foundation.
Following two solo albums on Bristol’s SwarfFinger label (‘InsideOutEyes’ from ‘97 and ‘98’s ‘Silent Light’) and an early FatCat split 12” (Foehn / Ad Vanz v Gescom from ‘98), ‘Secret Cinema Soundtrack’ marked Foehn’s third album, and her first for FatCat
This is a general phenomenon, historically confirmed that the most influential political, intellectual and artistic ideas and trends of any period, whether as a positive confirmation or as a theoretical and ideological rejection of them, will dominate the period. But that influence, depending on the consciousness and ideological character of those influenced, will be expressed in very diverse ways.
DJ IAN GREEN
He never knows when to back off.....