A Storm of Drones: The Sombient Trilogy

Various artists

… over three hours of sounds… Metro Times, ÉU

… excerpting, sequencing and mixing nearly four hours of recorded sound […] into a monumental three-disc set. Wired, ÉU

3 × CD (ASP 0966)


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Disque 1

Disque 2

Disque 3

  • Étiquette: Asphodel
  • ASP 0966
  • 1995
  • UCC 753027096623
  • Durée totale: 220:10

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Chris Meloche, Metro Times, 27 novembre 1996

A Storm of Drones is the concluding installment in this impressive series of elaetroacoustic music from New York’s Asphodel/Sombient label. Its precursors were the collections “The Throne of Drones” and “Swarm of Drones” (a single and double release, respectively). Those who were impressed by the sounds on those discs can prepare to be bowled over once again with this latest triple-disc assemblage.

Many of the people who appeared on the first two volumes also surface on A Storm of Drones, including composers Jeff Greroke, Maryanne Amacher, Robert Rich and Steve Roach.

Those who have delved into the diverse soundscapes of electroacoustics may likely recognize the names that appear on the first disc, “Audio.” Most of them are people who are (or have been) associated with the organization called the Canadian Electroacoustlc Community. Each of these works has been excerpted from releases on the Montréal-based emprientes DlGITALes label. It is an excellent introduction to works by the likes of Francis Dhomont, Robert Normandeau, Gilles Gobeil, Paul Dolden and many others. Specifically, the works of Dhomont, Normandeau and Gobeil reveal the very European approach to this genre of music with its leanings towards the “musique concrète” style.

The second disc, “Environmental,” begins with a clap of thunder on Michael Sterns Reky into Dark Territory. All of the composers in this set seem to have vastly diflerent approaches to their “environmental” soundworks.

Australian Alan Lamb has recorded the sounds of librating power lines creaking in the wind with the aid of contact microphones. Meanwhile, Ellen Fullman also employs the sounds of vibrating wires although the difference in her approach is immediately apparent. Maggi Payne’s Moiré could easily fool people into thinking that it was lifted from outtakes from Tangerine Dream’s “Rubycon” album while Darren Copeland utilizes some recognizable environmental sounds as the basis for his pieces.

The final disc — subtitled “Immersion”—begins and ends with a pair of works by Maryanne Amacher KARYON Sound Character is a lengthy work which ebbs and flows with sonic textures ranging from distant, quiet to ominously close andforeboding. Elliott Sharp’s Klystron falls somewhere within the boundaries of work by Gordon Monahan and Paul Dolden while Robert Rich’s piece Ephemera is a rather brief interlude featuring sampled voices which, despite their pleasing timbres, manage to invoke a sense of menace.

For those who have a serious interest in the diversity of electronic and electroacoustic sound sculpture, the over three hours of sounds in this collection will be a welcome evening of sonic treats.

… over three hours of sounds…


Mitch Myers, Wired, 1 janvier 1996

A Storm of Drones is the brainchild of visionary curator Naut Humon and the last chapter in a trilogy of extended experimental compositions. In this ambitious collection, [Naut Humon] selected the music of thirty-three cutting-edge artists, excerpting, sequencing and mixing nearly four hours of recorded sound from North America and Europe into a monumental three-disc set.

Consider a drone as the more meditative inverse of instrumental dub music from Jamaica. While both are formulas for musical trance induction, dub celebrates a physical sensuality expressing rhythmic enlightenment-the blissful engagement of heartbeat and soul. Drones achieve a far more cerebral loss of self, channeling the contemplative psyche via pure, beatless sound into an introspective elevation of consciousness. This music has been created with ancient instruments like the digereedo as well the electronic devices of today. With it’s musical and spiritual presence throughout the ages, the drone has amassed an elegant history in the sonic distortion of time and space.

The Sombient Trilogy articulates a reconstructive language from a variety of cultures and recording techniques. Prompting a reconsideration of what we deem “music,” artists like Francis Dhomont and Annette Vande Gorne incorporate subsonic frequencies with industrial noise and computer generated sounds. The reproduction of these distressed sound waves are sometimes so extreme that they wreak havoc with the average stereo system. Conversely, composers like Stuart Dempster extend traditional acoustic instrumentation with an army of trombonists.

The contemporary artistic process will always been open to debate. While not a new concern, we must now consider modern composition in relation to the progress of sonic technology. Resonant processors may be just as relevent as a full orchestra. New traditionalists aren’t asking us to abandon our established musical vocabularies, only to consider the possibilites of tonal advancement. A Storm of Drones provides a rival entrance into the multiverse of sound, qualifying as the definitive statement on another rich and expressive musical genre.

… excerpting, sequencing and mixing nearly four hours of recorded sound […] into a monumental three-disc set.