Drowse - Wane Into It Music Album Reviews

Drowse - Wane Into It Music Album Reviews
Blending slowcore, ambient, and folk with lo-fi musings on memory and entropy, Portland, Oregon musician Kyle Bates joins a grand tradition of Pacific Northwestern gloom.

On foggy days, the sea stacks of the Oregon coast appear and vanish without warning: hulking rocky outcrops transformed into floating islands in the sky. The most famous of those sea stacks, Cannon Beach’s 235-foot Haystack Rock, appears on the cover of Drowse’s new album, Wane Into It. Kyle Bates, Drowse’s sole member, visited the coast as a child. This photo, though, reflects the way time has distorted the picture in his mind’s eye, rendering a carefree summertime snapshot as a ghostly, looming mass of gray. On Wane Into It, he deconstructs music and memory into a nonlinear yet meticulously organized canvas of sounds and images.

Since 2013, Drowse has carved out a niche blend of slowcore, ambient, and folk, all wrapped in a largely self-recorded lo-fi gauze. When the cut-and-paste noise collage of Wane Into It opener “Untrue in Headphones” drifts into the undoctored acoustic strums of “Mystery, Pt. 2,” Bates ensures that the transition is unexpected but not jarring. In the bleary, somnambulant territory of Drowse songs, sounds float by like hallucinations, vivid yet too fleeting to grasp.

Early Drowse recordings were inspired by the psychiatric prescriptions Bates received following a mental breakdown in 2011. “I was trying to represent different drug effects that I felt,” he said of his 2015 debut, describing its sound as “woozy” and “washed out.” With references to recreational MDMA and the anticonvulsant gabapentin, Wane Into It still carries the specter of pharmacology. Bates has now spent over a decade “stumbl[ing] around therapy and self-destructive tendencies,” as he puts it on “Mystery, Pt. 2,” and recent years were marked by more personal upheaval, including the death of a family member. This exhausting cycle defines the album more than any particular substance. “I hope this is good for me,” he sighs at the song’s frigid close.

In its chilly atmosphere and eclectic-but-complementary instruments and effects, Wane Into It achieves what feels like an effortless sense of musical identity. In reality it’s the most labored-over Drowse release to date. In the first six years of the project’s existence, Bates produced nine releases, including three full-lengths, but aside from one ambient contribution to a four-way split in 2021, Wane Into It is the first new Drowse music in over three years. Recorded primarily in bedrooms in Oakland, Portland, and Los Angeles, the album also features contributions from a number of friends, including Midwife’s Madeline Johnston on “Untrue in Headphones.” The liner notes’ lengthy breakdown of recording details gives lie to the homespun sound.

While it would be inaccurate to call Wane Into It a drone album, Bates is almost constantly manipulating noise, whether it appears in the forefront (as on “Telepresence” and the back half of “Ten Year Hangover / Deconstructed Mystery”) or churning in the background of acoustic guitar-led passages. His carefully constructed atmospheres drive the album. “Untrue in Headphones” gets its name from Burial’s Untrue, and “Ten Year Hangover” recalls an obsession with Oneohtrix Point Never’s Replica, reference points that help to explain Bates’ interest in texture. In this, he has a clear forebear in the Microphones/Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum, whose visionary studio experimentation expands lyric-driven folk songs into immersive worlds. Ever the dedicated student, Bates quotes No Flashlight’s “I Know No One” on “Three Faces (Cyanoacrylate)” and had Wane Into It mastered at the Unknown, a studio in Elverum’s hometown of Anacortes, Washington.

These hat-tips connect the dots of Drowse’s sound, and their appearances also add to the album’s time-out-of-joint befuddlement, like favorite songs passing through Bates’ subconscious. Untrue appears “in the abstraction of a memory,” Elverum’s lyrics (“I know no one/And no one knows me”) as an affirmation of confusion. Wane Into It, the title track confirms, is a “lean in” pun about embracing the inevitable decline of our mental capacity and remaining lifespan. Depressing but oddly comforting, seamless but constantly churning, it’s an album tailor-made for ponderous gray winter days.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Drowse - Wane Into It Music Album Reviews Drowse - Wane Into It Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 08, 2022 Rating: 5


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