Various Artists – Distance: Sounds For An Empty Space (Clan Analogue)

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Australian collective Clan Analogue have explored the notion of drone and all it entails for their latest release. All artists were given free reign to interpret the concept/ practice however they saw fit, regardless of instrumentation, time or format. The results are pretty diverse to say the least, from deep meditative stasis to abrasive electronic oscillations.

There’s the warm Eastern drone of Ontario artist figital, the weird digitalia of City Frequencies who are apparently reworking the sounds of cities, an epic 29 minute synth improvisation from Melbourne’s Sectoral and some 8-bit oscillations from Will-i-Roms. There’s a real diversity here. It’s clear drones mean different things to different people, which is what continues to keep this collection so interesting.

There’s a more melodic contribution from Nicole Skeltys (Biftek), strange dark electrics from Zogam, and Kazumichi Grime offers 26 odd minutes of gorgeous drifting prog electronica. The highlight though is the album closer, Michael Mildren (Ectoplasm), who’s ethereal throbbing electronics cuts just the right balance between meditation and innovation for another 25 minute plus journey and brings to mind the hypnotic spirituality of Popol Vuh.

This is a really unique collection of sounds and approaches – which is what makes you return again and again. It’s a great concept – what would you fill an empty room with? The refusal to reign in the artists is another bonus – when was the last time you saw a 10 track compilation with three tracks clocking in at over 25 minutes? But don’t listen to it for its longevity. Listen to it because there are so many ideas here, where each artists has crafted something intensely personal to them and in doing so further developed the concept of what drone is and can be.

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