ICR

In the last decade or so the market has been flooded with hundreds of insignificant and often very expensive records documenting drones recorded in sound installations, as an ever-increasing number of nonentities hide behind assorted rumbles, monks, monkeys, birds, frogs, insects and other magnificent voids. This trend – which I’ll be fighting hopelessly until I transform myself into a Tibetan bowl – distracts attention from the few really meaningful artists who gave birth to the whole genre many years ago, including Jonathan Coleclough, heard here in the excellent company of Japanese soundscaper Lethe. Long Heat starts with a view of a menacing black sky painted with extreme low frequencies that move slowly and alluringly into our perceptual field; this is territory closer to Thomas Köner’s glacial prayer than to the cascading metallic powerhouse of previous Coleclough material. Spinning currents are disturbed by short concrete noises, ranging from the flick of imaginary switches to percussive interference à la Z’EV, all of which undermine the discipline of the mother drone. After about 30 minutes everything seems to stop abruptly, but it’s just a shift in intensity: an almost scary muteness is punctuated by the distant siren cry of what sounds like a bowed metal sculpture, while the sparse crackling of circuitry continues, almost unnoticeably. It’s a very evocative atmosphere, far removed from threadbare shamanism, unlevelled terrains of isolated introspection working wonders on our sense of expectation until silence itself returns at the end to remind us of our next steps in life. But there’s more: loyal followers who manage to get a copy of the limited edition will also receive a second CD – Long Heat Pt 2 – which, as cerebral massages go, is almost better than the first, as monstrous cloudy masses move in from the background to permeate the room in an enthralling timbral phenomenon whose mightiness – think of a giant pipe organ and an approaching bomber squadron – is once more questioned by scraping and rustling, like ants at work in patient destruction. The final distant cello-like melodic fragments are just sublime. Don’t miss it.

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