Colorado is a state well known for its plentiful resource of natural beauty. The state is indulgently saturated through its landscape of quiet streams, dense forest, the chirping of wildlife, peaceful ravines sunken into the earth and the equally impressive and intimidating beauty of the Rocky Mountains draped in a diverse topography, making it a wonderful location for any ambient or drone artist to sonically explore. It is this abundance of natural beauty which stirs in the air, among the ambient scenery which both offthesky and Radere lovingly paint, capturing the atmosphere the state emits in their rocky drones. Long-form, free-running drones turn the mountainous scenery from a physical plain into an aural manifestation, a musical equivalent of the mountainous serenity found in Colorado. Sitting down and working away to create drone music indigenous to one location is a beautiful challenge, and it’s one that both artists rise to on their first outing together, I Will Love You, Always.
Colorado natives offthesky and Radere provide the oxygen and the clarity in their crystalline, clear drones, cascading down from the fresh peaks and providing replenishing, clean levels of air quality that can be inhaled through deep breaths. It’s a true reflection of mountainous beauty, of deep forests densely populated with tall and ancient ponderosa pines and wondrous white firs. The drones themselves shine radiantly, refracting light off the lens of the sun and sparkling like emeralds glinting off a pinnacle, lit against the sky. Taken during improvised sessions recorded in October 2011, I Will Love You, Always is an L.P which encapsulates this beauty; of nature’s way in the world, and how she will remain the dominant force, always, no matter the high levels of delusion our species wishes to entertain. Subtly morphing into completely new areas within the space of a single piece, the drones transition almost subconsciously in an ever-changing mix, and this ensures a healthy flow throughout the two seventeen minute tracks.
Opening, the listener is affectionately embraced by “Humor is a Funny Thing”. The longest out of the two tracks, it sets off like a hike in the drone woodland, changing course occasionally throughout the forest in a cycle of shifting, light drones, and ends with a lone gust of wind gently cooling the face upon reaching a summit, or perhaps carried down from the mountains themselves. Our trek is a languid one, and it never feels arduous or requires a pausing for breath.
A maximum running time of thirty minutes doesn’t chain the music in restrictive shackles. A limited edition cassette is one of the available formats for the release, the other being digital, and while the cassette has been edited down for reasons of length and may be a reminder of the limitations the format succumbs to, the music isn’t limited in its scope despite the length; it seems to thrive on the relatively short duration. There is a heightened awareness of a constant movement the drones present, constantly inhaling and exhaling with every passing minute. Both artists also use this length to their advantage, as it highlights their skill to construct a dazzling, colourful forest of drone that can send the listener on a wonderful trek in just over half an hour.
As the project neared the finish line, the iconic artist Whitney Houston tragically passed away. As such, I Will Love You, Always became an affectionate tribute to the vocalist, whose spirit may also mystically cloak the artwork, shining upon the exterior of the record as intensely as the drones prevalent inside. An air of mystery is left hanging over who commandeered each section, or if both artists crafted sections simultaneously. This would explain the even, streaming flow running throughout the record.
Shimmering vertically, the drones are like fingers of sunlight shining through gaps in the trees, and there is enough activity to keep the listener returning to the scene. The enticing pull of the landscape was also seen in Radere’s recently stunning I’ll Make You Quiet. “Forever Over” is the darker of the two, the drone is now a blurred, pale light in the distance hovering over the land. The colourful hues are unsettled and slightly uncontrolled, lacking the stability of the opener and tinted with sadness.
Colorado drones are in hypnotising hands with these two artists. The drones may very well be ascending the mountains, absorbing in their realisation of climbing a peak; the stunning region painted in aural form. It’s like breathing in the fresh air of the Rocky Mountain highs, sweet and lively in the pine-scented air. I Will Love You, Always shimmers and radiates passionately, for their fallen heroine whose vocals emanated a soulful vibrato much like the drones, heard down the years and throughout memorable films echoed years ago. It also captures the stunning scenery of Colorado with a confident surety, as fearless as their christened, declaration of devotion implies. (James Catchpole)