Author Topic: Drone On's reviews of "Uttarakuru" and "Dammerung" CDs by Mathias Grassow  (Read 2699 times)

drone on

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Just released by Sweden's Gterma label, "Uttarakuru" presents some "new" old music by king of drones Mathias Grassow, and some relatively "new" music (from 2010) on "Dammerung."  Both are percussion-less and drifting drone fests from the Master Grassow. 

"Uttarakuru" is a 2-disc set combining two long-form pieces released in 1999 and previously only available as CDR's.  The music here has been remastered, although I can't comment on the remastering as I never had the originals.  Disc One, "The Empty Sky," sustains an electronic drone (as opposed to the singing bowl type found on many of his releases) for its 74-minute duration, and over the top of this drone is some high-pitched flute sounds, played to eerie effect.  There's not a lot of diversity on this disc, and is a fairly static piece, with subtle and minimal changes throughout.  "The Empty Sky" is decidedly from the "Himalaya" (one of Grassow's more well-known albums) school of drone, and is quite similar to "Himalaya" in this respect.  Disc Two, "Distant Light," also employs a sustained electronic drone and weaves in, low in the mix, sounds of Tibetan horns, monks chanting, and other subtle environmental sounds.   I found both these long-form pieces to be very gloomy, dark, and static.  Nothing wrong with these characteristics in and of themselves, but compared to the HUGE body of work by Grassow, these two pieces are nothing particularly special.  I would highly recommend HEADPHONES listening on these, in order to pick up on the very subtle ambient sounds riding above the base electronic drone. 

"Dammerung" is a 6-track disc of music recorded in 2010, and this one is more in the vein of "Expanding Horizon" (minus the percussion) and other more stratospheric space music Grassow has done like "Mercurius."  The drones here are "lighter" and more ambient, and just kind of drift on forever.  I enjoyed this album more than "Uttarakuru" but it is also not among his very best in the scheme of things.  Again, headhpones listening highly recommended. 

The artwork/nature photography on these packages is first rate; if you liked what Amplexus was doing in the 90's with their design, these Gterma releases will greatly appeal to you. 

Final analysis: these are a pair of good Grassow releases that I can mildly recommend to the more hardcore fan base, but for newcomers there are more significant gems to seek out.