Improvisation can be seen as a pathway to a state that reflects an inner creative drive, one that expresses a mystical interaction between mind and body, an idealized division overcome in an act of artistic synthesis. It is a collaborative act in nature, whether it hinges on musicians or audiences, and when it is based on drones (as it is in this case) not only does it produce the space it takes place in, it also grounds the ideal moment of creation unto the materiality of volume and long-term tone development. Thus, the Reveries that two of the genre’s greatest lead us into are of the kind that don’t escape, that don’t look up and fantasize, opting instead to look forward, to cross gazes with others that often also wish for a life in the skies. The Brutalist architecture of the album cover provides, perhaps, a hint: this is the raw material of the here and now as it cannot help but dream about a city of light – clear, defined guitar harmonies that grow and retract their way into a form that fills rooms with the energy of a communal process of mutual revelation. As such, it does not arise from a single block or a building’s bare base, but from a visible work of repetition that, like feedback loops, erects an intricate structure that is constantly being refined and revised by those participating as they both revel in and reveal their creativity to each other.
It is a strange thing, for a drone. Sure enough, dronesters are not alien to improvisation at all, but this album is decidedly within the tradition of improv that does not highlight the presence of either artist in the making of the music. The drone form erases such concerns in the over-arching process, once upon a time veering towards the cosmic, now towards its more contemporary opposite the machine-like, here taking place as a construction that does not hide itself from the listener. Melodies find their way into the material of the building, but they do not opaque the noise of pure form with which the whole thing brims. However, it is never full-on dissonant, and it is a kind of noise that reverbs and fades out as it defines sounds by making them seem hollow: the Brutalist tower’s massiveness is usually one born of contrast, of perceiving the fragility of the melodic ‘nature’ that by laying in its imposing shadow comes to psychologically change the form. These Reveries enact the concrete’s sighs beneath the sun, the way it blooms over the gardens it presides, grounding the ever rising and falling tones to the present, to the act of listening here and now to a recording of an improvisation that eloquently flows into a very conscious dream-state.
At 36 minutes, the album is not exactly long, but like all good drones it does seem to dilate time, making space for the wide expressiveness that the Noveller and Thisquietarmy unit bring to bear, sometimes like pleasant memories re-drawing places into emotional experiences, others like a thoughtful meditation into a kind of melancholy made of electronic tone clouds. A collaboration through and through, it is a remarkable work, even considering both artists’ already stellar trajectories, and it goes to show their versatility as musicians and makers of sounds. Put this album on and don’t let yourself go: re-listen, re-see, re-evaluate your surroundings and the way their very materiality bursts forth from beneath all those (melodic) arrangements. (David Murrieta)
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