Author Topic: Drones  (Read 3564 times)

Gemini Ambience

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Drones
« on: September 29, 2008, 01:35:01 PM »
Hey everyone!

I've been meaning to ask this for a while now: can anyone tell me the history of drones becoming a focal point in modern ambient? In addition, what constitutes a "quality" drone versus a "boring" drone?

Thanks in advance for any replies!

Jim

ffcal

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Re: Drones
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2008, 10:10:20 PM »
I'm not sure how far back the beginnings of ambient drone can be traced, but I think that classical Indian music and the music of early minimalists such as LaMonte Young and Terry Riley are certainly in the mix.  Tape delay and synthesizers certainly made it easier to record long tones.  I think there is no right or wrong way to create a drone, though I personally prefer complex drones, both as to pitch and timbre, that fluctuate and drift over time.

Forrest

SiF

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Re: Drones
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2008, 12:27:06 AM »
For me, the perfect drone can be played over hours without
even changing its timbre. William Basinski is the perfect
example. I could listen to his Disintegration Loops for hours,
while others get bored after a few minutes. Its not really
drone, but in the end it turns out quiet the same, as it is
an loop that gets repeated over and over.

If this drone got an certain melody that i totally enjoy,
then i can listen to it for hours. I guess it all depends on
our typical listening behaviour.

9dragons

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Re: Drones
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2008, 12:39:54 AM »
Drone is the sound of the world before the big bang. It's all around us still. That's why drone is so beautiful to certain minds. It the wonder of the vibration, somehow revealing the inner mechanisms behind the wall of reality. Could drone be the most ancient device used in music? It feels so. From early medieval to sitar...from bagpipes to the modern ambient masters. The popularity of drone music now is a testament to its ancient survival. We are hard-wired to love it. Well, some of us at least...

But think how much even the average person, who has no love of putting on a cd that makes drone sounds, is actually hearing drones throughout a normal day. From the leaf blower to the airplane, from the car engines constantly in the background, to just the overall sound of a city at almost any time. One massive drone secretly towering over us all. I can hear it right now...

Seren

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Re: Drones
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2008, 12:56:32 AM »
Not forgettig that the Australian Aborigines and Tibetan manks have been droning for a very long time too.

deepspace

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Re: Drones
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2008, 03:49:41 PM »
For me, the perfect drone can be played over hours without
even changing its timbre. William Basinski is the perfect
example. I could listen to his Disintegration Loops for hours,
while others get bored after a few minutes. Its not really
drone, but in the end it turns out quiet the same, as it is
an loop that gets repeated over and over.

If this drone got an certain melody that i totally enjoy,
then i can listen to it for hours. I guess it all depends on
our typical listening behaviour.

I agree.  Some drones make me reach for the 'next' button.  These are usually drones without a reason.  Someone's holding down a key in a studio somewhere. :)  or someone hasn't really thought about why they are using a drone.  If it doesn't make you tingle, then why on earth record it?

Some drones however, and usually the ones with added vague, shifting movement, resonance or harmony within them take me far far away.  Something like "This moment is a memory" from Roach's Mystic chords-  It's this big fat drone with phasing and shifting harmonies, and it just rings my bell big-time.  It sounds like it is threatening to unmask some massive object that is floating above us, like a massive cathedral or something, and we can't see it, but it's there, operating invisibly.  The first track from Adam Shaikh's album "Journey to the Sun" (I can't remember the name...."Emergence" maybe) is just stupendously good.



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uhurit

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Re: Drones
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2008, 08:05:54 PM »
Here's a strange discovery. An elementary school teacher I know insists that drone-type sounds are used for treatment of  autistic children. She isn't into anything ambient, and remarked that my music is weird "because you can't hum to it", yet became literally mesmerised when she spent a few minutes listening to Phil Niblock playing in my office. Go figure...

deepspace

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Re: Drones
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2008, 12:39:31 AM »
I guess some people have a very simplistic rationale for music.  If you can't hum to it, it must not be legit.  Kind of hilarious really.  At least she seemed to be moved by ambient music in some way though.
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