Table of Contents and Introduction
1 - DroneOn Specifics 2 - General Net Resources 3 - Music - Current 4 - Music - Ancestors 5 - Music - Even Earlier
6 - Vendors 7 - Everything Else 8 - Zines/Books 9 - Gear/Musician Toys

Part 5: Music / Musicians / Bands - Even Earlier (Folk, Traditional, and other early sounds)

In This Section:


5.1 - Armenian Folk Music

Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 15:02:12 -0800 (PST)
From: Michael Stamm [mstamm@library.berkeley.edu]
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU
Subject: Re: attn. armenian folk music experts (seriously!)

On Tue, 5 Mar 1996, Chris Reid wrote:
] from the liner notes to einsturzende neubauten's strategies against 
] architecture II:
] "#10 Armenia
] 1986-The piece originates in an affecting Armenian folk song. To 
] translate its emotional impact into our world (we) constructed the piece 
] from several instrumental tape loops of the source recording"
] 
] now, this song has been haunting me for about 10 years. does anyone know 
] what the backing music is, and where one can find it?

I don't know the name of the person/persons responsible for this particualar piece of music, but any records by Djivan Gasparian would proably hit you just as much. Most Armenian folk music is played on a reed instrument called the duduk and accompanied by someone on what's called a dam duduk. Loosely translated, this (dam duduk) means drone duduk, and what the dam player literally does is to drone the tonic while the lead player blows the melodies. The instrument itself has a beautiful tone, probably halfway between a clarinet and one of those little pocket horns that Don Cherry used to play. The instrument requires a weird wetting technique for the mouthpiece and thus the style and tone can vary greatly from player to player. I got the info from my girlfriend's uncle (an accomplished and fluid duduk player himself) and his recommendation as far as albums go was Gasparian's "Apricots from Eden" or the newer one whose name escapes me right now. I can vouch for "Apricots", a truly incredible and beautiful drone record. This might be too contemporary for Neubautan's use on that particular record, but virtually all of Gasparian's work that I've heard has the "haunting" quality I think you're referring to. Hope this helps.

Mickey


5.2 - Carnatic music of southern India

Subject:     Re: indigenous drone.
Date:        02/14  11:00 PM
From:        Jim Flannery, newgrange@sfo.com
To:          DroneOn List, droneon@ucsd.edu
Fiachna@aol.com wrote:
) 
) it is anyway: what traditional musics of the world are most inclined toward
) the drone? in other words, any recommendations on, uh, this-listy "world
) music"? and y'know, I don't mean those guys from jajouka with all the p.r.,
) and/or bill laswell's moroccan trance flavor-of-the-month starring pharoah
) sanders..  I'm looking for something that needs no flange effect to make it
) otherworldly. I know of a few other routes to take, javanese gamelan and 

Lately I've been obsessing over a style of South Indian devotional music (Carnatic music) which features a large reed instrument called a Nadhaswaram. Usually there's a few of them together, playing long extended repeated patterns over frantic thavil (2-headed hand drum) playing. Imagine a bunch of Albert Aylers all playing God's own oboe. They tend not to be used with other instruments because they are damn loud. One of the high points of my trip to S'pore last month was hitting a temple during a service -- you could hear the horns from a block away, and inside the small stone building the joint was *rockin*. The power, repetitiveness (and the detailed variations within the repetition), and the complex timbre of the instruments (watch them overtones *move*!) are pretty overwhelmingly transporting. Music is the healing force of the universe, you betchum.

One of the reigning masters of this stuff (judging by the % of discs in the record shops in S'pore, anyway) is Sheik Chinna Moulana Saheb. A disc of his which you probably will be able to find is on the German label Haus der Kulturen der Welt, a subsidiary/distributee of Wergo. It's just called _Nadhaswaram_ and was released in 1992. It features Moulana and two other nadhaswaram players and a god-like thavil player named S. Subramaanian who has an extended solo on one track.

My current fave is a live record from the Madras Music Festival from 1996, I think the soloist is named Namagiripettai Krishnan, unless this is a compilation and that's just the title. Anyway, it's on a label called Geethanjali, distributed by Super Audio (Madras), catalog # SA-022. You could try faxing them at +91-44-831409 for info. This one has shorter pieces and has a definite "live" vibe to it -- a little flashier, a little wilder, a little looser.


5.3 - Didgeridoo

Date: Sat, 1 Jul 1995 18:22:56 +0930 (CST)
From: anthony dale [aadale@adam.com.au]
To: droneon [droneon@UCSD.EDU]
Subject: Indigeneous Aussie Dronescapes

I know may droneheads out there are fans of the mighty Australian Aboriginal drone device, the didgeridoo (henceforth known as the didge). Here are the details of two releases that approach the definitive for tihs medium, one deeply traditional, the other containing modernist elements from other ambient/drone forms:

1. "Didgeridoo Concerto" - Mark Atkins (Larrakin CD LRF 338)

A single 51 minute piece combining virtuoso didge with found sounds of thunder, rain, wind, animals and insects. Haunting and capable of inducing deep trance like states. Apparently the primary didge track was recorded in one continuous take, which, according to the notes accompanying the release, makes it the longest example of circular breathing ever recorded. Impressive stuff. Available on CD only from:

Larrakin Records
PO Box 501
MASCOT NSW 2020
Australia

2. "Didgeridoo Daze" - Steven Jamesz Robson (Digital Ambience CD)

A varied and interesting suite of 13 compositions using a well integrated use of didge, E-bow, vox chants, percussion, tapes and effects. One track contains some demented and quite disturbing poetry. The tracks where didge and E-bow are combined are jaw-droppers, with some of the best and most complex harmonic interplays I have ever heard. Around 60 minutes on CD - not available on vinyl. Contact:

Digital Ambience
PO Box 2258
KENT TOWN SA 5071
Australia

Expect to pay about $20 US shipped, maybe a little more for the Larrakin. I can assist if required and if you ask me nicely.

Drone in splendour - Anthony Dale


5.4 - The Ethnodrone Thread (Morocco and Others)

Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 20:44 EST
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
Subject: that there "ethnic" stuff
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU

Yeah, Shankar is an OK place to start, I guess, but some of my Indian friends kinda don't like him that much, say his music became too "American" at various points, and I guess I'd tend to agree with 'em. There is just so much great Indian classical music out there that it's hard to decide where to start (and then there's the question/debate over whether the Northern or Southern/Carnatic style is more interesting/relevant, etc, and I don't even wanna get into that). Anyway, a coupla more recommendations would be:

* a disc by one U. SRINIVAS, also on Realworld. U. plays the mandolin of all things, hardly a classical Indian instrument, but his sound is about as far from bluegrass as you could get, and has a sliding/plucked stringbend action style that would most likely make most droneoners toes curl right up. It's really a fine disc, various shorter pieces flowing into one another (it was recorded in a special studio in one take) with a lengthy and beautiful centerpiece written by young U.

* an album on Hannibal/Ryko by SALAMAT AND NAKAZAT ALI, one of the most beautiful and transcendant vocal performances I've ever heard. They intertwine their amazing voices over a couple of longish pieces to really heavy/deep effect; any thought that mostly-solo vocal things would get boring is banished instantly by the sound, man, and the feel. Lovely.

* anything you can find by USTAD IMRAT KHAN, an Indian master who sometimes plays the sitar but is even better on the surbahar, a similar instrument in concept but slightly different in sound, as it's larger string area allows for more bending and scooping of tones; often achieves a pretty brainblowing wig(gle)-out effect, as the pitches seem to swoop and shimmer in front of yer very ears. I've heard a few discs by him, and they're all great. Can be hard to find, but it's worth it, he has a style like none I've come across. Pretty blasted.

And while India and Pakistan couldn't really be considered "friendly", I'd like to expand a bit in that direction and toss out a recommendation for the music of NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN. He's got a buncha stuff available here, mainly on Realworld and Shanachie, and almost all of it is great. He and his ensemble perform mostly trad Qawwali (sp?) music, long devotional pieces with vocals and hand percussion and droning harmoniums and sometimes some strings, generally starting off quiet and meditational and gradually building to totally amazing whirlwinds of emotion and swirling kineticism. Most of his discs are quite good, though I'd stay away from those with shorter songs; the Qawal pieces are meant to be long, to lead the listener to transcendence over the course of their 20 or 30 minutes, and Nusrat wasn't too happy with how the Realworld diced up some of his recordings to fit short American attention spans (especially avoid _Mustt Mustt_, where some Gabriel-esque geniuses decided to add dance beats and bass tracks to the chopped up numbers). If yr just gonna get one, I'd say go for the 1994 Realworld release ... uh, I forget the name, but it has a pinkish cover with a photo of a crosslegged Nusrat and some Arabic writing (I can check the title if anyone needs to know). This is probably my fave of his cds, and I'd actually recommend it over anything else I've mentioned, it'll take you to the other side with plenty of space left over.

Sorry to go on like this, but I gotta be pancultural, y'know?

km

Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 22:10:11 PST
Mime-Version: 1.0
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU
From: ullsperg@mendel.Berkeley.EDU (Chris J. Ullsperger)
Subject: Paul's tapes, Brian's record (more roots psychedelia)

2 queries/comments related to traditional music from the other side of the world (as I see it):

(1) I recently read a biography of Paul Bowles and colleagues, _The Dream at the Edge of the World_, and my curiosity was piqued when I learned that Bowles spent a few months in the sixties making "field recordings" of various Saharan musicians, trance music, jajouka drummers, etc. Any musicologists out there know what happened to those tapes? Library of Congress perhaps? I know that the Moroccan government quickly axed the project, fearing that the tapes would fuel the notion that Morocco was "uncivilized".

A few more recent (circa 1978) recordings of Bowles' made it onto a CD called "Moroccan Trance Music", which is generally available.

(2) I probably have asked this before, but am I correct in understanding that Brian Jones' recordings of Moroccan music have NOT been re-issued (contrary to what the Brian Jonestown Massacre guitarist told me)? I'm kind of surprised that no one has pulled the masters off whatever shelf they sit on and presssed them again, given all the other rare (and more obscure) stuff that's been re-issued. My impression is that Jones' recordings were pretty well done, and in the field as well.

chris

Date: Wed, 15 Feb 95 11:42 EST
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
Subject: Re: Paul's tapes, Brian's record (more roots psychedelia)
To: ullsperg@mendel.berkeley.edu

Yeah, let's talk Morocco! Moroccan music in all its different forms is really some of the most cranium-expanding stuff there is. Period.

Not sure about the early Bowles recordings, but I'm not really losing any sleep over not hearing 'em. Most "field" or "location" recordings made before about 1970 or so really fail miserably at capturing the essence of music involving large groups or oddly-timbred instruments. However well the recordists used the available technology, even the best Smithsonian world recordings sound shrill and clattery compared to much of what's been cut since then. We were listening to a Sm/Folkways 1953 recording of some Northern African percussion at the store just yesterday, and it sounded more like the kinda sounds yer pipes make just before they're gonna burst; while I'm sure the playing was excellent and the original experience totally wonderful, as recorded it sounded like a bunch of wood rattling around in your trunk. That's really the problem with the Brian Jones Jajoukan recordings as well, they just don't sound that good, and ol' BJ then went and made things even worse by fucking with the tapes, adding reverb and echo and playing them backwards and shit. Pretty bad record, really. Ornette Coleman (jazz sax player, if you dunno) jammed with these same Jajoukan musicians in the mid 70s, and there's a brief snippet of it on his _Dancing in Your Head_ album, but it sounds pretty bad too.

With that in mind, I would definitely recommend these Moroccan recordings:

* the MASTER MUSICIANS Of JAJOUKA disc on Bill Laswell's Axiom label. The Master Musicians are a caste (or clan if you wanna) that has passed this huge sound down from times before Christ, and it's still pretty wild and primordial, tapping into an overpowering cosmic swirl that makes most of my "far-out" psych records sound pretty puny. This disc was recorded outside in the mountains where the folks live, and it sounds just great, brings everything into focus. Instrumentation included all sorts of things I can't pronounce, but can basically be divided into these wild massed reed instruments that sound like English horns run through a fuzzbox, wild pounding percussion, some vocals, other reeds, etc. While sometimes smaller ensembles step out front, the general bit it big-group bludgeoning chaos, blowing away most Western notions of tuning, beat, and cadence. One of the best discs I own. Legend says that when the music stops in Jajouka, the world will end. I, for one, believe it.

* Axiom has also put out a couple of recordings of Moroccan Gnawa music, the traditional sounds of the northern Arabic blacks that dates back nearly as far. This stuff is a bit more discrete but still wild trance music, a bit more of a desert rattle-swirl-chant thing that combines African percussion attacks, Arabic-descended vocals, and the amazing sound of the sintir, a long few-stringed instrument a long stick on top and a huge goatskin gourd on the bottom, played by plucking, hard. They also use these hand-percussion things that are sorta like big metal castanets, which when used in large numbers with sufficient skill can make your head feel like it's shaking apart. There are two necessary discs here, the NIGHT SPIRIT MASTERS cd from a few years back, and a more recent disc that couples the highly-regarded emsemble of MALEEM MAHMOUD GHANIA with free-jazz saxophonist PHAROAH SANDERS (who's playing farther out than he has for years) to really incredible effect. All of these have great photos and notes (incl the Jajoukan cd above) and sound simply great.

I gotta go to work right now, but later on I wanna rave about a group called AISHA KANDISHA'S JARRING EFFECTS, who're shaping up as as a sorta Moroccan Velvets or Faust or something, mixing primitive electronics and mixology with traditional group approaches. They're pretty much banned all over the country, and often wear hoods when they do get to play, so people won't recognize them. Anyway, more later, if no one has any objections?

km

Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 12:11:23 -0500
From: stutz@rs6000.baldwinw.edu (Michael Stutz)
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU, mmaxwell@UCSD.EDU
Subject: Re: Ethnic drone, for lack of a better term Status: RO

)Anybody out there have recommendations on various ethnic musics which might appeal to droneon readers? I know that we've discussed anglo/hill folk tunes and how they might appeal, but what about more exotic selections? Growling monks, Benedictine monks, what have you? 

Check out some Buddhist overtone chanting; there's something by the Gyuto monks on Windham Hill. I also highly recommend the music of the Whirling Dervishes (you know, that Turkish religious dance where they spin around in circles). Mesmerizing and "droney," and that's what we're here for, eh?

These I haven't been able to find yet. I read about them in a book called _Free Rides: How to get high without drugs_ (uh oh not *that* again ;-) ):

_Dhikr of the Halvetijarrahi Dervishes_
_Drums of Passion_
_Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares_ (a 1991 comp of Bulgarian music) Tony Scott, _Music for Zen Meditation_
_Yamantaka_
_Music of the Pygmies_ [Ocora]
_The Kodo Heartbeat Drummers of Japan_
Hugo Zucarelli, _Holophonics Live_

It also mentioned to check out Haitian voodoo music and the Balinese Monkey Chant. I have no idea where to find this stuff.

Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 21:27:05 -0500 (EST)
From: dani@simons-rock.edu
To: nick@simons-rock.edu
Subject: Re: that there "ethnic" stuff (fwd)

Essentials...let's think.

One guy tha this oerson didn't mention is G.S. Sachdev. The flute he plays has a pretty amazing sound. Haripasad Chaurasia also plays the flute, but his style is much flashier. Sachdev's style of playing is very meditative and traditional.

Listen to anything played on the sarangi, which is a bowed instrument that's odd odd odd. I have never heard a bad sarangi player, because once you figure out how to get a note out of the thing you're probably an expert; it has fifty something sympathetic strings. No kidding.

Vocal music really is the best way to go, however. A particularly amazing recording is Rag Kambhoji by the Dagar brothers. The recording is a little over an hour long. The style they sing in is called dhrupad and is one of the oldest styles still sung today. There is much more time spent on the alap (the a-rhythmic part in the beginning of indian music where the scal is explored very slowly) than on the gat(the part with drums that most Americans seem to preferbecaus it's fast).

Another excellent recording is Rag Yemen performed by Rashid Khan. It is obscure and I found it by accident. However, it is mind shatteringly good. Khan sings and is accompanied by a tabla player and a harmonium player.

The album that guy listed by the Ali brothers is also fantastic.

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 1995 13:15:42 -0800
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU
From: ullsperg@mendel.Berkeley.EDU (Chris J. Ullsperger)
Subject: Ethnodrone/Gong/Traffic Sound etc.

A little over a month ago there was some discussion on the list regarding the virtues of various recordings of Moroccan music and their availability. I did a little snooping around and got a hold of a few seminal LPs. To my knowledge, they haven't been re-issued on CD.

First off, let me say that as far as fidelity of recordings go, none of these records are, technically speaking, up to today's standards. The award for best fidelity would have to go to the Bill Laswell-produced CD _Apocolypse Across the Sky_ (Axiom), which Kevin Mosurak described in his list of recommended recordings. The music was recorded at Jajouka in the foothills and is very cool.

Kollectorskum-types who dig this stuff may take note:

_Music of Morocco_, ed. Paul Bowles
AFS L63-64
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 72-750123 This is a double album of selected recordings from Bowles' Library of Congress-funded taping expeditions in the 1960's. The recordings are all a happy medium-fi, impressive, I think, considering the equipment available to him. In fact, they sound better than some later recordings Bowles made in 1978, a few of which (short ones, including a beautiful mountaintop recording with crickets in the foreground and drumming in the distance) show up on the CD _Moroccan Trance Music_ (a great CD, on the whole, on the Belgian label, Sub Rosa). What's special about these records is the incredible diversity of music. The albums are divided into music from the Northern and Southern portions of Morocco, and on both records there are some stupefying vocal performances, chants, etc. that only make sense when the temperature is really fucking hot. Probably there is a case of these records sitting untouched in a basement somewhere.

_Music of Morocco_ ed. Christopher Wanklyn Folkway Records FE 4339
L.C.C.C.No. R67-372
Single LP of various recordings. Wanklyn was a friend of Bowles who apparently got sucked into the Moroccan music scene along with Gysin, Burroughs, etc. This record does not, unfortunately, feature high fidelity recordings, but it's the sort of thing that might show up from time to time for 50 cents at a garage sale, in which case it would be a nice coup.

_Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka_ This album was released in 1971, the 1st record on Rolling Stones Records, if I'm not mistaken. Original British pressings were titled _Brian Jones Plays With the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka_, or something to that effect. The Japanese pressing is allegedly the best (I haven't compared the records myself). All the recordings were made in situ during August of 1968 by Jones and mixed by him shortly thereafter. I gather that its release was delayed by Jones' death (in '69), and I'm not sure who took control of the project subsequently. While the record is (arguably) not the best "document" of Moroccan music (because of phasing and overdubbing), it is a *great* psychedelic record. I was expecting the worst, but I found the phasing and overdubbing on the album to be tasteful and, in fact, to elevate the music further into otherworldliness. Again, I find this stuff most satisfying when the temperature in my house is hot, but it's damn good in Northern California, too.

And speaking of un-reissued masterpieces, I wouldn't mind reading the opinion of anyone remotely entitled (or inclined) to give hers on the following matter: is there any chance in hell of the original Glastonbury Faire album getting re-released, or would obtaining the rights to all those recordings be virtually impossible? I'm wondering because I heard Gong's contribution to that album and it knocked my socks off *and* singed my toe hairs. Gong evidently liked phasing as much as I do.

Finally, does anyone have any personal favorite CDs among the Background label releases of Peruvian psychedelia (Traffic Sound, Tarkus, et. al?)?

Enough already,

chris

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 95 19:57 EST
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
Subject: Traffic Sound
To: ullsperg@mendel.berkeley.edu
Cc: droneon@UCSD.EDU

Hey Chris, thanks for the Morroccan stuff. Definitely some more for the want list.

As far as the South-of-the-border psych stuff, I've heard a good bit of it and most of it's just great. The TRAFFIC SOUND cds are probably my favorites; the first one is called _1968-69_ and features their first 2 lps. The first is interesting but overall not exemplary, being mostly salsafied covers of popular psych-rock tracks of the day. The second, _Virgin_, as noted by Mr. Bearfood, is totally wonderful, though I may hafta dispute his clamis of its lightness; I dunno, I thought there were a coupla real scorchers on there ("Jews Caboose" turned up real loud will exorcise demons, I tried it), and some real dub-esque psych-flubbery here and there that make it a real winner even for those scared of acoustic instr, of which there is some. The second cd is called just _Traffic Sound_ (tho I've seen it on traders' lists as _Tibet's Suzettes_ as well) and it's another winner on all counts. Perhaps not as flappy as its predecessor, it's actually a bit heavier and more straight-ahead, but as always in a fried-exotica vein (i.e. it don't sound like Motorhead). Infinitely better than ANY Santana record, too. What's great about both these discs is how the band has managed to take spacy-acid impulses and remove the Northern Hemisphere "rock" moves that usually go with them, instead finding ways to incorporate sound more germane to their environment into the mix. You simply could not imagine that either of these records came from anywhere other than South America, any more than you could think that the Trees records came from elsewhere than the U.K. Go for _68-69_ if yer just gonna get one (the trumpet-vs-fuzzgtr freakout section in "Meshkalina" alone is worth the price), but I wouldn't wanna be w/o either.

There's a sorta related group from Peru called LAGHONIA, and their cd has met with more mixed response. I quite like parts of it, while others kinda leave me cold. While there are certain cultural similarities obvious in the sound, Laghonia funnels them into a more obviously Brit-prog-derived complexity-framework, and adds in plenty of harmonies to boot. Worth a shot if the idea of progressiveness doesn't send you screaming from the room.

AGUATURBIA are, after Traffic Sound, probably the greatest thing to come of this spate of reissues. They were an Argentinian female-fronted 4-piece heavily influenced by Big Brother and the Airplane, and the Background disc reissues both of their legendary albums. The first is sorta similar in concept to the 1st TS disc in that it's muchly covers, but with a generally higher success rate (though the 10-minute "Crimson and Clover" may be a bit over[and over]stated). The second album is totally insane, heavy bluesy freakouts that manage to spread as much slobber around the floor as _Cheap Thrills_ and _Outsideinside_ combined, and take it from a repeat drooler that's no mean feat. The booklet has some odd notes and great photos, but it unfortunately does not reproduce either of the original nude covers for the albums (although I hear the lp reissue of the 2d does indeed so strip). Another good 'un.

WE ALL TOGETHER should be avoided unless you think early Badfinger is the music of the spheres.

The disc by PAX is sorta in the same vein as Aguaturbia, though w/o the manic female vocals. There's a duff short track or 2, but most of the album mines similar big, stupid, loud, drugged-out veins as the early Blue Cheer stuff, with the odd bit of local exotica thrown in for color. I quite like it, but as they say your mileage may vary.

I only heard the TARKUS album once (and, uh, I can't totally remember the situation, if you see what I mean), but it seemed pretty great, over-the-top heavyish psych-rock, maybe not as dunderheaded (and thus less "authentic") as Pax, but probably more consistent as an album. It's on the want list, as is the KISSING SPELL album; anybody heard that one?

Anyway, hope this has answered yer Q in some way. To sum up: Traffic Sound first, Aguatubia second, a many-way tie for third, We All Together no-show.

k


5.5 - British Folk (Current and past)

Date: Thu, 8 Sep 94 10:27:23 EDT
From: dan@lec.com (Dan Parmenter)
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU
Subject: Bevis, _London Stone_

Kevin M writes:

)I'll second the recommendation for _London Stone_ (I seem to be doing that quite a lot lately, don't I?). It's definitely a dark album, one for thought and reflection (tho as usual parts of it rock like a mothersomethingorother), though not as conceptually sprawling/extended as _It Just Is_. The aforementioned folk influence is indeed quite prevalent--somehow even many of the heavy moments manage to sound folk-esque through the use of certain motifs drawn out of Brit folk (a favorite genre of mine, wish I hadn't missed that thread while it was going on; anybody wanna start it back up?). The song "London Stone" is one of my all-time top Frond moments (my spine still tingles when the fiddles kick in near the end).

Well, I guess I'm gonna have to check this one out. I've always approached Bevis with some hesitation, since the tracks I've heard varied between brilliant and somewhat derivative. Definitely an awesome guitarist though.

As for Brit-folk-drone, well that's my specialty too! I'd say that the best place to start for truly droney, unearthly Britfolk is probably the first three Steeleye Span albums. Later lineups are better known and quite a bit poppier, but the first three are stark-but-rich slabs of sonic goo. The salient albums are HARK! THE VILLAGE WAIT, TEN MAN MOP OR MR. RESERVOIR-BUTLER RIDES AGAIN and PLEASE TO SEE THE KING. The latter two are of particular interest, since they feature the electric guitar of Martin Carthy, one of the giants of Britfolk. Normally Carthy is associated with unplugged guitars, but on these albums he plugs in and creates this incredible sound, almost like an electric dulcimer at times. The band was drummerless at this point too, and although drums are featured on some cuts, many are just guitars and voices. Maddy Prior has one of the most haunting voices you'll ever hear. If you like those, Fairport Convention's LIEGE AND LIEF is also essential. Fairport albums really run the gamut, but for drone fans, L&L is like sweet cool water on a hot day. They do an incredible one-chord raveup on the song "Matty Groves". Their next album, FULL HOUSE is also somewhat droney, though fans of pretty female vocals will be disappointed. Sandy Denny, thought by many to be the one true voice of Fairport, quit after L&L. Richard Thompson quit after FULL HOUSE and the band subsequently got a bit less droney. Another early record by them worth checking out is WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAYS, which has some very Byrdsy stuff. Sandy Denny's solo records aren't very droney (they're great though); however, she did one track, which only appears on the boxed set WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES which is, IMHO, one of the very best drone songs ever done. It's a setting of "The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood". The version that appears on one of her sol,o albums isn't as good. The boxed set version features just Sandy's voice and Richard Thompson on electric dulcimer. It sounds as if the dulcimer is being put through a slowly manipulated Wah-wah pedal, and the resulting sound is just intense. *Very* Sonic Boom-esque, but with a pretty female vocal on the top (whatever happened to that female vocalist Sonic worked with on one of his versions of "True Love Will Find You In the End"? I've always thought that the Sp* bands might sound cool with occasional female vocals). I can't say that it's worth buying the boxed set for that track, but if you know any folkies who own it, tape it.

I've *always* maintained that among the "seminal" drone bands, the Velvets had a *very* strong "folk" influence. Is it any coincidence that parts of their first record were produced by Tom Wilson, who produced Simon and Garfunkel?

Richard Thompson's solo records and Richard and Linda Thompson's records have some classic droners. POUR DOWN LIKE SILVER is an excellent place to start. It's also one of the best record ever made (IMHBUCO).

This barely scratches the surface. I haven't even talked about Irish music. The Van Morrison/Chieftans record has one classic droner, "She Moves Through the Fair" (this song is kind of the "Louie Louie" of folk bands, they ALL seem to do it).

- Dan

Date: Thu, 8 Sep 94 18:16 EDT
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
Subject: Re: Bevis, _London Stone_

Here I go again, seconding recommendations (tho I've got a few of mine own to add again).

I'll have to agree with Dan, the early Steeleye Span albums are simply amazing, stark, dark, and as "heavy" as any music ever made. While _Hark_ only rates a pretty good in my book, the two with Martin Carthy are among the most essential records in my collection (I'm even now taking a break from writing a review of some Carthy reissues for issue #2 of Deep Water; I don't think the man's ever recorded a bad record). If I had to recommend just one, I'd say go for _Please to See the King_.

Much of the best Brit acid-folk-rock stuff remained pretty obscure, even moreso than Steeleye. The Incredible String Band early stuff is being reissued by Hannibal/Ryko (about fucking time), and I'd say that _The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter_ belongs in the collection of anyone who isn't Steve Albini. Elaborate yet subtle, and just totally fried. Parts of this remind me of the Holy Modal Rounders as stoned Brits in a glade (instead of speed- shooting hillbillys hiding in the sewers of NYC). Mostly acoustic, lots of weird instrumentation, and the best warped world-music cops this side of Kaleidoscope.

Even more obscure, but maybe even worthier, are the Trees, who released two brilliant albums in 1970 and then promptly disappeared. They were obviously inspired by Fairport, but don't really sound like them in any major way. The use of dulcimers and other unordinary acoustic instrumentation keeps it solidly in the folk realm (as do the well-chosen covers), but the supple, occasionally almost jazzy drumming and the fiery/heavy gtr leads (sounds like a Kaukonen/Melton freak wandered into a ceilidh) push it into totally other realms. What we've really got here is jamming psych, capable of drone and spew equally strongly, that just happens to have trad Brit musics as its main songic inspiration--call it somewhere between Steeleye and Jefferson Airplane (the bass playing's even totally wild, shades of Casady). I might plump slightly for their first album, _The Garden of Jane Delawney_, tho the second, _On the Shore_ is pretty damn great too. I believe that both have seen UK reissue on cd, and I don't think I've heard anything more worth the import price than these. (Oh, and _Garden_ also has the most brain-tingling version of "She Moves Through the Fair" that I've ever heard, beating even Fairport's and that Morrison thing.)

Anyway, enough babble. I'll save discussion of Pentangle, COB, Mellow Candle, Stone Angel, etc, until I see if anyone actually cares about this stuff (except for me and Dan, of course).

Hmmm...the morning glories are starting to kick in, I think I'll just have some fruit this evening. Feel free to join me, and have a relaxing weekend.

km

From: Monsanto@aol.com
X-Mailer: America Online Mailer
Sender: "Monsanto" [Monsanto@aol.com]
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU
Date: Fri, 09 Sep 94 14:23:49 EDT
Subject: Folk-drone

)I'll save discussion of Pentangle, COB, Mellow Candle, Stone 
)Angel, etc, until I see if anyone actually cares about this 
sstuff (except for me and Dan, of course). 

Well, I care, anyway.

Agree completely about Trees; absolutely essential stuff for anyone with even the remotest curiosity about folk-drone. The reissues on BGO sound great and are packed with interesting info/photos.

Also notable:

Forest: more acoustic-based than Fairport or Trees, but still worthy in a let's-sit-around-in-a-peat-bog-and-hallucinate vein. First two albums recently reissued in both Japan and the UK.

Comus, _First Utterance_: unbelievably wasted-sounding folk/prog/drone hybrid...a landmark triumph of mental disturbance and/or insights beyond-the- beyond. Reissued in Japan a year or two back and well worth making the effort to track it down. Supposedly these guys recorded a second album; anyone out there ever heard it?

Mellow Candle, _Swaddling Songs_: utterly lovely post-Fairport daze-haze bliss. Less droney than other selections, but spellbinding nonetheless.

Emtidi, _Saat_: a swell German release from the early 70's. that sounds like a previously untheorized mixture of Krautrock and early Jefferson Airplane.

And though I've seen them mentioned here a time or two before, allow me to heartily endorse the three Ghost albums from Japan on PSF, which I've spent literally hundreds of hours listening two. It's inconceivable that any reader of this list wouldn't find these utterly life-enhancing. All are great in a kind of Faust-meets-Tom Rapp-on-heavy-downers way. Essential stuff.

How is the Stone Angel album anyway? And does anyone know where I can lay my hands on some C.O.B. albums?

Date: Sun, 30 Apr 95 20:17 EDT
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
Subject: gamera, he surfs go-go
To: droneon@UCSD.EDU

Some more music (WARNING! FOLK-RELATED CONTENT NEXT 3 PARAGRAPHS!):

After the Oddfellows of Rochester re-took the highway, I whiled away a chunk of the afternoon listening to folkish things. Picked up the TUDOR LODGE lp a while back but just got 'round tuit, and it's a real nice one. Brit stuff on the lighter end of things, the main trio contributing gtrs and piano and flute and 3-part rich vox well to the fore, with help from lotsa friends including Pentangle's rhythm section (Danny Thompson just rules). There're also some pretty, understated arrangements a la the early Nick Drake stuff. Ann Steuart has a lovely clear voice, and also contributes one of the best songs on the album (all 3 write), the mature and bitter relationship-falling-apart song "Two Steps Back," which pretty much bests all comers in the heart-tugging dept. This self-titled album's pretty much unknown, which is too bad; it's not the best thing ever, but it's waaay better than lots of more-rated prim-pinky Limey pickings.

Mention of NDrake above brings me round to a new cd by one DAVID LEWIS, another Brit whose first (?) album is just out on (for some reason) the Austin-based Dejadisc records. There's a big sticker on the front of the case that proclaims that the sounds contained w/in fall in the "British folk tradition between Robin Williamson and Nick Drake," and whaddaya know -- the promo folks actually know of what they speak for the first time I can remember. Really fairly impressive stuff, some strummy, some q. introspective, and a couple of VERY atmospheric droners. Instrumentation revolves around acstc gtrs, with some electric here'n'there, plus all sorts of sundries swirled into the mix: harmoniums, pump organs, clarinet, thumb-piano, bamboo flute, mandolin, hand percussion, the whole closet-full. Songs are consistent and good, with elements of earnest oddness (Williamson) mixed with a familiar fuzzy melancholy that still manages some new territory by bringing a more springlike air than Drake usually did. I won't mention any of the "bigger" names involved so as not to scare you off, but I will point out that one of them produces and does a fine job, a full you-are-there sound that manages to be not at all slick. Really nice booklet too, with notes and instrumentation and some lovely photos by Lewis et al. Of course, no, it's not as great as _Five Leaves Left_ or _Hangman's Beautiful Daughter_, but it may be as good as _Wee Tam_ and _Time of No Reply_, and that's no mean feat.

The TREES' second album, _On the Shore_, boasts one of my all-time-favorite cover photos (a creepily English-doll-looking girl flinging liquid in a semicircle around her while standing in some estate garden) that totally complements the beautiful mystery of the music inside. The whole thing is simply wonderful, a constantly-moving and often quite heavy bed of guitars and percussion (and some piano and strings occasionally) that occasionally seem like everyone is soloing simultaneously around a steady drone, capped off by Celia Humphries's soul-melting vocals. Some unbeatable Trad. Arr.s, some excellent originals by Bias. It's all good, but side 1 is just perfect, a short intro and then 3 long builders (w/mind-bending intertwining gtrs throughout) culminating in a 10+ minute version of "Sally Free and Easy" that is just worlds better than the one you know. Seriously, both TREES albums are fucking essential, and should probably be heard even by people who hate it when I start blubbering about this twee crap.


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