DRONÆMENT: EZOTERICK MUZICK
CDR: AFE Records AFE085LCD [2006]
Ltd x 150


Morning
Ezoterick Muzick I
Ganga
Ezoterick Muzick II
Trip to Surja
Yamuna
Mathura
Ezoterick Muzick III

There appears to have been a resurgence of interest in minimalist tonal music recently, punctuated by Touch’s (re) release of Phil Niblock’s masterful "Touch Three" last month. There seems to be a distinct distancing by many artists from the overtly “digital” sound of the recent ten years or so, and a move towards something more organic, a move that perhaps anticipates a phase shift, the slow rejection of software based music making, and the re-introduction of “real” instrumentation.

Dronaement approach the genre constructing a tonal framework, fused with occasional field recordings, at times sounding like (and I’m sure they won’t be offended by the comparison) an early Zoviet France, or more recent material by Z'EV. Much of the material here is peppered with classic ZF referents…minimal tonescapes, ethnic (particularly Indian) instrumentation, all interlaced with gongs, drums and rhythms.There is a trilogy of pieces woven into the whole album at various stages, all carrying the title of "Ezoterik Muzik", and all interlinked by a common theme. The first four tracks on this eight track CD could be part of the same piece – the structure is essentially the same, with competent use of sidereal shifting tonal layers, threaded with bells, birdsong, and a spattering of pseudo-ethnic paraphernalia. Overall this gives the general impression of an other-worldy , blissed out head–trip, inspired by Indian classicism.

'Trip to Surja' shifts the mood and pace of the previous four tracks, injecting the proceedings with an ambulatory dance piece that strangely reminds me of Monolake, although still retaining the dreamy,ethnic mood of the whole album. 'Yamuna', and the subsequent 'Mathura', transport us once again to an Edenic soundscape, the sound of softly running water, bells and tone-shifts, that occasionally lapses into the cliched new ageism of what has often been referred to as “meditation” music, yet somehow it manages to uphold the integrity of the whole album without overtly becoming a tool for meditation.

Dronaement’s main protagonist, one Marcus Oberst has been active since 1997, and with one or two successful projects under his belt (most notably a collaboration with Sebastien Roux’s Rabbit’s Sorrow project), has created a CD that can be approached from several perspectives. It would cheapen his work simply to tag it as “relaxation” or “meditation” music, although, yes- it would fit snugly into the rack displays of the hippy trippy shops of Glastonbury, it also manages to be infused with a dignity and creativity widely appreciated by fans of contemporary experimentalism, and “serious” art music.

ECM

[Dronæment] / [AFE Records]

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