Auraltone Music AM005, 2011, CD album, 50m 14s, $9.99
Sometimes when you visit my site to read a review you find yourself struggling through some complicated exposition on a rarely considered aspect of experimental music, full of technical terms and pointless intellectual gymnastics. I’m sorry about that. I’m a bit self indulgent sometimes. However, if I suspect that enough of my readers will be unfamiliar with an unusual style or genre to warrant it, I do feel it’s worth spending a bit of time on explication.
Drone is a style characterised by the use of sustained tones: not long notes in the normal sense, but single tones, generated by a variety of means, that may continue for ten or twenty minutes, or even longer. It bears a certain conceptual, and sometimes aural resemblance to minimalism, in the way that certain generative conditions may be established at the beginning of a piece, which cause a repeated or continuous sound to gradually change over an extended period; it is also clearly not concerned with the usual valuations of performance skills as indicative of musical value. There is also a relationship with ambient music, which under certain circumstances may be hard to distinguish from drone; drone music certainly addresses some of the same ideas, with its emphasis on the production of an atmosphere, and its interest in timbre to the exclusion of rhythm or melody.
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