Artist: Us As Effigies
Release Date: 2014 Dec 8
Genre: Ambient Drone
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Petroglyph Music
Us As Effigies Nodula is one of the best ambient / drone works I have heard in a very long time. Admittedly, I have heard a lot of excellent drone works, but of late I have been put off by many of them. Most of them seem to be wandering, flat, and just not really leading the listener anywhere. But this is a work that is quite different from those works.
Us As Effigies Nodula
Christer Lunder & Bjørn Rummelhoff-Hansen are the artists behind Us As Effigies. They formed this duo in the summer of 2014 to explore different directions from the post-rock bands they have been in. They describe themselves and their work:
We started experimenting with drones and ambient soundscapes after more than 15 years playing in post-rock bands.
Our music is created by jammin/improvisation, field recordings and editing.
I think this strikes at the heart of what I like about their work. While it’s drone based, there is an element spontaneity to their work. They have a feeling in many of these pieces that seems to be missing from so many drone works these days. This release has furthered a feeling that I have for live performance… There is something to performing and recording a work in real-time that gets lost in much of todays electronically generated music.
This is quite noticeable on tracks like ‘Brown Rhine’ and ‘Falling Through The Ocean’ where the drone elements are supplemented by rhythmic elements, and there are choices that are being made. I’m particularly fond of ‘Brown Rhine’, there is sense of gentle movement in this piece: it builds slowly, has some slight quirky elements, as if you are drifting down the Rhine river when it is flooded.
Surrounding the more improvised works are a series of pure drone pieces, the Nodula’s. They have a simple, straightforward calming feeling to them. Yes, they are dark, and they present some tension, but they aren’t intimidatingly dark. And they do have shifting textural palettes that often seem to get lost with other artists.
I will say it again: this is one of the best ambient / drone based works that I have heard in a long time. I chalk much of that up to Us As Effigies introducing improvisation and live performance into their pieces. They have a fresher, more spontaneous feeling than many of the drone works I’ve heard lately. I think this is a lesson that electronic artists can learn from: there is nothing that replaces live performance.