Various Artists - Noise Drone Repeat - Collected Musings Volume 2
This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
Junk DNA is a record label that has been hosting experimental, noise, and drone events under the Noise.Drone.Repeat mantra since 2014. To keep a long story short, the showrunner decided to incorporate a bunch of these artists who have been a part of Noise.Drone.Repeat into compilations. The first of which released in 2020 under the subtitle “Collected Musings Volume 1”. It was well received by the experimental community and thus a sequel was bound to happen. And so it did. “Collected Musings Volume 2” seeks to expand upon the original concept with eighteen contributing artists in total. While there are a bunch of tracks on “Collected Musings Volume 2” that heighten the experience, several bland and generic noise songs and other oddities weigh the experience down.
Before I dive into reviews of albums with long playlists, I always like to state that I will not be covering each and every single song on the album. Instead, I will be highlighting the best of the best and also mentioning pieces I was not fond of. As always, I’ll start with what I consider to be the best tracks on the album.
This section starts with the first track on the album, n_ll’s ‘Sibir I’. A drone and space ambient product that would not feel out of place in record label Cryo Chamber’s massive discography, the seven-minute and forty-two second piece is filled with stellar samples and ambient works that remind me of ships flying over corporate warehouses on unexplored terrain. The sparse deep space pulse that’s followed by a higher pitched, soothing synth reminisces Vangelis’ work on Blade Runner while other sound effects take into account multiple legendary science fiction films where gratuitous shots of near-future tech were important. Overall, it’s a gorgeous piece that will fill the need for a dose of space exploration.
In a similar aspect to the previous song, Bzzrkr’s “Birth of Andromeda” also seeks to explore space, or at least the boundaries of science fiction. My wild imagination thought this track to be a montage of a civilization being built to its peak, just before an event or world-ending apocalypse forces that crowd to become extinct. The synths are on point, evoking curiosity and thought. Mystery, as it were. The eight-minute and eighteen-second track also does not stay stagnant. While true it maintains its genre and tone, there’s plenty to feel out and discover during its run.
I would also like to point out Opiate Sleeper’s ‘Euphoria Dawn’ as a stand out track. What sounds off as a southern gothic track during the opening moments then turns into a reverb laden atmospheric dream. It almost sounds like it could be the end credits to a movie that ends on a high note. However, there’s also something ominous about the track nonetheless that’s hard to point out. Perhaps it’s the deeper strumming of the guitars that pan out into deeper, almost drone-like pieces. That, or perhaps the cult-like singing that leads us out of the song during the last minute or two.
The next pieces I’ll be mentioning are the ones that I was not too fond of. This starts with track number three, узб96’s ‘ꙮВКВ’ featuring Quinn. To be brief, the piece is very generic for a noise / drone combo and would have a hard time standing out in a playlist of other noise / drone artists. Such as this compilation. It runs for around seven minutes and forty-seven seconds and throughout that duration there was never a point where I felt moved by the electronics – which is important to me in these works.
Ritual Heaps’ ‘I want you to feel bad’ is another song that is less than stellar on “Collected Musings Volume 2”. Basically, it’s a song that sounds as if my CD just skipped and someone took that skip and turned it into a three-minute and fifty-four second loop. It doesn’t sound good; it sounds as if a sample concept was extended into an entire song. It’s a rather annoying and bothersome listen more than anything and became a hard pass on repeated plays of the compilation.
allswither’s ‘Holographic Shrapnel Wave’ is a harsh noise song. But, like many other harsh noise artists, there’s nothing unique about it. Throw it into a playlist with a bunch other harsh noise artists that love their walls and you will not be able to distinguish it from the bunch. It’s bland, boring, generic. I have to say much the same for Narrow Utility Function’s ‘Apocalips red’, though they throw in some low sounding tape loops to break up the pace. Human Maggots’ ‘Reproductuve Isolation’ is chaos in a jar. It’s nothing more than higher pitched noise that’s meant to cause you to throw your headphones off and / or damage your ears. This was another hard pass for me.
As with most compilations, however, everyone is going to pick and choose what they do and don’t like. For me, a few of the artists mentioned above disappointed – these are names that I would never seek out on my own. However, I’ve also been ignited by the likes of n_ll, Bzzrkr, and Opiate Sleeper to seek out their work and discover what else they’ve in their pocket. The artists that I didn’t mention did a decent job at the very least, but weren’t as heavy hitting as the previously mentioned trio. I do come off of this compilation with generally positive vibes, but there are those tracks that I just can’t stand. Six-and-a-half out of ten.Apr 26 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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