Saturday, July 7, 2012

"The Roots Of Drone" 2xCD

This compilation does an admirable job collecting samples of some of what could be loosely considered "drone" music's history, dating back to 1926. Of course, it could be debated that drone-based music goes back centuries (and indeed it does), but as for modern music, Chrome Dreams (who are usually busy producing unauthorized DVD biographies of pop and rock stars) has done a fine job.

From the old-time Texas folk fiddler, Fiddlin Eck Robertson to the Irish bagpipes of Pipe Major Macintosh, this 130-minute set also touches upon classical (Wagner and Haydn), blues (John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Howlin Wolf), jazz (Miles Davis), gospel (James Shorty & Viola James Congregation), Indian, New Guinea, Tibetan, and Romanian musics, modern classical (La Monte Young and John Cage's infamous "4'33"), and tons more. It's an entertaining and lively set with a wide array of sounds, all sharing one common thread -- a predilection for sustained, monophonic harmonies and notes. 

My sole complaints with "The Roots Of Drone" are in the liner notes, which are, sadly, a tad brief, and the packaging design, which looks far too "modern", flashy and inappropriate for the subtle and historical content of the music. (Chrome Dreams)

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