The Gas Bill EP

The Gas Bill EP
The Gas Bill EP

The Gas Bill EP by Kevin Drumm.
Bandcamp Link: The Gas Bill EP

I was thinking about “Ambient” music and thinking back to Eno’s album, “Music for Airports”.

The “songs” on that album were created by running 4 different tape loops of various audio events simultaneously. The way the audio events occurred in temporal space lined up differently depending on the alignment of the tapes. Beyond creating the tapes and pushing “play”, the artist was not involved in the actual creation of the music.

I often wonder how interactive Kevin Drumm’s music is, or if it is some variation on that creative process.

You may recall our long stroll through “A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound” by Roland Kayn. My understanding is his compositions were similar to Eno’s, but far more elaborate Goldberg contraptions of sound creations. Like Eno, little actual input from artists occurred beyond pressing “play”.

The Gas Bill EP is more similar to “Music for Airports” than it is to Drumm’s more aggressive work, or even yesterday’s “Sunday”.

Eno, again, conceived of “Ambient Music” “‘as ignorable as it is interesting’ that would ‘induce calm and a space to think.'”

Whether Drumm is directly involved in creating the music or not, it functions similarly for me.

I put The Gas Bill EP on and am able to center myself and think. It is somewhat “ignorable” but also interesting.

Not a bad thing.

#KevinDrumm #TheGasBillEP #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack




Sunday by Kevin Drumm.
Bandcamp Link: Sunday

Sunday fades in to a very low continuous rumble, rolling thunder, and a very high pitched complex whine, a bit like my tinnitus or a louder fluorescent light.

The interaction between these two modulates for a period of time and slowly faint sonic events happen in the middle pitches.

At first, I wasn’t sure if there was actually anything happening or if they were phantoms caused by the interaction of the other modulation.

Then at around 5 minutes another very low modulated bass rumble joins along with almost melodic feedback like noise.

This continues until around the 17 minute mark, when another very low rumble joins, causing a rather violent modulation between the low pitches.

In the middle, faintly, it sounds like there is almost something like music. Perhaps music heard from another room.

Sunday is very interesting experiment in durational pitch interactions.

The combination of high pressure low tones the almost unpleasant high pitched sounds is very hypnotic and almost hallucinatory.

#Sunday #KevinDrumm #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack


Another Odyssey of Waiting


Another Odyssey of Waiting by Kevin Drumm
Bandcamp Link: Another Odyssey of Waiting

This album starts so quietly, and builds so slowly, that I wasn’t sure what was music and what was the sound of the road.

The first 30 minutes are what sounds like Tibetan bells, bowed vibraphones, and some feedback. There’s actually a lot going on, but it is going on very quietly and very slowly.

At around 29 minutes in everything fades down and then slowly builds again, but what sounds like someone pressing down on about half the keys of a pipe organ is added.

The whole thing shimmers and slowly undulates, like a sonic jellyfish, for about 10 minutes and then fades out again.

#KevinDrumm #AnotherOdysseyOfWaiting #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Bad Dreams part 1

Bad Dreams part 1 by Kevin Drumm.
Bandcamp Link: Bad Dreams part 1

A finely dissonant work of interacting long duration pitches with slight glitches here and there.

In other words, a perfect atmospheric soundtrack for your All Hallow’s Eve Nightmare.

Though, to be honest, you could probably point your browser at just about any of Kevin Drumm’s bandcamp recordings and come up with a pretty good Halloween soundtrack.

(This piece was initially composed for a commission that fell through. Drumm made it available only to his bandcamp subscribers.)

#KevinDrumm #BadDreamsPart1 #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack



Overstaying by Kevin Drumm.
Bandcamp Link: Overstaying

Overstaying starts with the sort of speaker torturing sub-bass rumble that makes you wonder if that is indeed a sound, or if you had too much coffee and are simultaneously having an earthquake.

It moves into manipulated sound field work, similar to bowed vibrophone or Tibetan bowl, but the sound fields are executed more quickly than is usual in Mr Drumm’s work, giving a bit of hurried pace to the interactions.

A brief interlude with a squeaky door bowed instrument of some sort intrudes over the fields of sound, then gives way to pure static.

The next section sounds a bit like sampled insect or animal noises which have been turned into continuous sounds, then more static.

Almost church organ-like tones lead the next section which then segues into shortwave experimentation.

As that fades out, more sound field and sub-bass intrudes until the fade-out.

As Drumm’s work goes, this is a very musical outing and quite diverse in its sound sources.

While by no means “easy listening” Overstaying is quite pleasant and the use of various and sundry sound sources and techniques over the relatively brief (33 minute) duration of the piece makes it a bit more accessible than some of his noise or longer drone exercises.

#KevinDrumm #Overstaying #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Well There You Go!

Well There You Go by Kevin Drumm
Bandcamp Link: Well There You Go

If it gets to be more than a month between Kevin Drumm bandcamp releases, I start to get antsy and think to myself, “Hope the guy is OK!”

Fortunately, this fine new, and well titled, album showed up just in the nick of time, before I called the Chicago Emergency Services!

A shorter release from Drumm, I was actually able to listen to this one completely before getting to work, a practice I am sure he disapproves of, what with the road noise and all, but I think he disapproves more of listening to his music on headphones while doing something else.

In any case, this IS an interesting release.

It starts with modulated shortwave static, moves to sound field work, transitions back to static, and again to sound fields, transitions to shortwave with what sounds like morse code, and finishes with a collaboration with a trumpeter named Greg Kelley.

It’s almost like a symphony!

My favorite section is probably the second, when what sounds like a very lonely prairie dog squeaks every so often during the rolling sound field interactions. Like a rodent accidentally caught up and alone on a massive space ark bound for another galaxy.

Can you tell I just read Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Aurora”?

In any case, if you are more curious about Kevin Drumm, bandcamp recently gave him a “lifetime achiement” feature:

Lifetime Achievement: The Diverse, Idiosyncratic Output of Kevin Drumm

Read and subscribe!

#KevinDrumm #WellThereYouGo #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack


Blocking by Kevin Drumm.
Bandcamp Link: Blocking

Unlike his “May 18” release, Blocking is NOT “user friendly” Kevin Drumm.

There’s a joke in the drone/noise circles about mic’ing an oscillating fan.

This doesn’t exactly sound like mic’ing an oscillating fan. The experience is more like dozing, half-asleep, in a hammock on a hot summer day, while the neighbors on three yards elsewhere in your neighborhood mow their lawns. Not quite disturbing enough to wake you up, yet too disturbing for you to get a really good nap.

Or maybe trying to nap in the middle of a power transformer or nuclear reactor.

There are some repetitions and decreases in volume that sort of give the recording a feeling of progress and some tonal interaction between different pitched drones which occasionally is almost like tension or musical content.

And if you really listen, the tone is not pure, it is always modulating and changing, a foggy cloud of sounds being driven by winds or alien forces not recognizable as intention.

#KevinDrumm #Blocking #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MatjillaPoppy #Romneyacoulteri

May 18

May 18 by Kevin Drumm.
Bandcamp Link: May 18

I was quite dissapponted that I was out of town when Kevin Drumm made a rare West Coast appearance last month.

However, I am getting a bit behind my subscription listening, as this album is from Mid-May, so I will catch up virtually.

May 18 is everything I like in a Kevin Drumm album. A slow build of slightly non-tonal drone. Random events to keep things interesting. And finishing with some fine, fine strong sub-sonics.

I think if you were looking for a pleasant, but not too pleasant, introduction to his work, May 18 would be a good place to start.

#KevinDrumm #May18 #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2018-01-30 Venexia


‘Venexia’ by Mika Vainio / Kevin Drumm / Axel Dörner / Lucio Capece.

Oft times in Kevin Drumm’s solo work he limits his sound sources to a single family of sounds. Band saws, radio static, whatever.

On this collaborative release from 2012 with Mika Vainio, Axel Dörner, and Lucio Capece, Drumm displays a wider variety of his sound palette than on his solo releases. Well, at least what I can recognize as his. I am not as familiar with the other artists on this, but can recognize some of Drumm’s signature sounds.

Described as a set of continuous duos, this is a pretty cool album of non-rhythmic sound environments. Very drone-ey and somewhat SciFi, yet not spacey. No, whomever is deploying the subsonic feedback rumble makes sure that it steers very clear of the “spacey” label.

Nice that 4 collaborators from pretty different backgrounds can make something that sounds so organic.

#MikaVainio #KevinDrumm #AxelDörner #LucioCapece #Venexia #todayscommutesoundtrack