courtesy of the artist
Equal parts hypnotic and mechanical, Luke Abbott's "Holkham Drones" pumps along like a steam engine.
Song: "Holkham Drones"
Artist: Luke Abbott
CD: Holkham Drones
With the minimalist likes of Pantha Du Prince and Matthew Dear attracting ever greater fanfare, less is the new more. The excessive sounds of drum-and-bass aren't the hot commodity they once were, and even Squarepusher has been drifting away from his roots. U.K. musician Luke Abbott's place in this trend isn't vital, but his full-length debut does reflect it: Holkham Drones assembles a generous blend of vintage drum machines, sound manipulation and the kind of Odyssean synth-worship on which Jean Michel Jarre built his best work.
Equal parts hypnotic and mechanical, the album's title track pumps along like a steam engine and slowly picks up its pace, layering synthesizer upon synthesizer until it creates — you guessed it — a drone. But this particular drone is far from static; it's constantly shifting in volume and dissonance with no apparent pattern or reason. The result musters enough contrast to stay engaging, but a mind-numbing feeling still sets in, as the background's arpeggios give off the sensation of sheer infinity. They carry on uninterrupted even as other sounds swell and melt away, making "Holkham Drones" a perfect soundtrack for an endless ladder climb.