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Kevin Drumm - Imperial Horizon

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Artist: Kevin Drumm

Album: Imperial Horizon

Label: Hospital Productions

Review date: Dec. 3, 2009

On his last disc for Hospital Productions, Imperial Distortion, Kevin Drumm worked away from the chaos that’s been his forte and opted for a more restrained sound. Releases in the interim have veered back toward noisiness, but on Imperial Horizon, Drumm’s never been dreamier. The album consists of just one track (entitled “Just Lay Down and Forget It”), and it’s a gentle, even soothing listen. Has our hero, purveyor of hellish miasmas, gone soft for good? The rough edges on Imperial Horizon are few, and (save for the cover shot of a graveyard) there’s little of the ominous portent that laced Imperial Distortion‘s dark drones.

I’ll run the risk of reading too much into a title and say that “Just Lay Down and Forget It” is Drumm’s advice on this outing. As the tones that make up the music mingle, any shifts in pitch of timbre occur very slowly. The minor dissonances and rhythmic collisions that weave among one another hardly encourage close listening. Rather than watching the music’s grass grow, one is best served to simply enjoy it, absorbing new sounds that seem to have evolved from nowhere, riding a continuous wave that never breaks, never recedes.

The most striking thing about Imperial Horizon isn’t the similarity to classic new age minimalism; it’s that the disc sounds ... well, anonymous. The album doesn’t sound like what one would expect from Kevin Drumm, and there’s not much about (save for the name on the spine) to set it apart from some of its like-minded kin.

The placid surface belies activity underneath, with tones deep in the mix coming together and separating, so it’s not all as simple as it sounds. Nonetheless, Imperial Horizon doesn’t distinguish itself from Drumm’s best work. Land of Lurches took a noise aesthetic (over-worked even then) and wrangled it into an exemplar of the form. Imperial Horizon’s nature certainly doesn’t require Drumm’s typical levels of craft and execution, but the final result lacks the visceral stranglehold that Drumm’s work has conjured in the past.

By Adam Strohm

Other Reviews of Kevin Drumm

Sheer Hellish Miasma

Imperial Distortion


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View all articles by Adam Strohm

Find out more about Hospital Productions

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