The top 5 artists making drone music in Toronto
A focused drone is hard to find: there's a lot of other music out there calling itself drone that's totally something else altogether. A worthy drone artist keeps things more sparse than even most minimal composers, creating sounds only a few tones at a time, letting them stretch out without the aid of traditionally organized rhythms and modes into something ultimately formless and meditative. In an age when anyone can slow down a Drake song and call it drone, here are the deepest ambient sounds going in Toronto.
This solo/duo project creates live environments by filtering hypnogogic drones through sound-scapes of what can only be described as psychedelic weirdness. Sprung from the deep waters of weathered Toronto psych-rock champions Ghostlight and Under Heaven, Skull Bong is the demented dream of lone sharks Marco Landini and Minesh Mandoda, and it comes on like an acid-induced tidal wave.
Jonathan Adjemian's exploration of outsider synthesizers sometimes flirts with krautrock-inspired melodies and rhythmic patterns, but for the most part his two cassettes with Healing Power Records and years of occasional live performances have exhibited a fascination with the spacier synth tones found out beyond well-trodden structures and sounds---right where they should be.
This brand spanking new analog drone project by Toronto's surrealist avant-garde veteran William A. Davison isn't taking requests or playing concerts under this name yet, and there aren't even any sounds to be found online, but his uninhibited tonal abrasion can be dug up from a new cassette with a very long title. Just ask him for it via Davison's website Recordism.
Body of Waste
Another solo recording project with but one release (so far), Body of Waste struck me like a breath of freshly, wonderfully rank air as its drones and non-tones recalled such fond American memories of mine as rhBand and Double Leopards. In the interest of full disclosure, I might be biased about this as it was released on a modest independent label that I run, but others agree Adam Hanrahan is making some deep and exciting droning weirdness.
Ken Reaume's Black Walls is a prime example of the place where drone ideals crossover into song-based arenas such as doom metal, shoegazer and post-rock. Much akin to Nadja (Toronto's former drone heroes who became Berlin's darlings of doom), Black Walls stretch basic tonal ideas out until you can't sense their end. And like a good drone, why would you want it to end?
Writing by Kevin Hainey, photo of Black Walls via Facebook