Kevin Drumm Land of Lurches

[Hanson; 2003]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: harsh, terrible noise, experimental composition
Others: Hair Police, To Live and Shave in LA, Merzbow, Wolf Eyes

If it's not altogether impossible to explain to friends and family why you enjoy the noise of artists such as Kevin Drumm, it's damn close. You play them an ear-shreddingly loud track of white noise and they obnoxiously think it's devoid of artistic merit. The tautological "art for art’s sake" -- akin to a canvas painted one solid color, they say. Anyone could do that, they say. You challenge them to do it, then. They get frustrated. You get frustrated. And they still have no idea why you permanently ruin your hearing with these aural assaults.

But here’s why I’m not simply a masochist: this music provokes experiences that conventional music never could. Drumm himself provided two of the most poignant listening experiences in my recent memory. With his Sheer Hellish Miasma blasting out of my speakers as loud as I could possibly bear, I found myself actually physically and mentally challenged. I had to actively fight back against the music, and my mind was utterly cleared to make way for this sole aim. While the music occasionally bullied me back into submission, I ended up winning out and reaping a sublime experience.

With the first track on Land of Lurches playing as I was laying in bed to sleep (my dreams are pleasant enough, thank you), I heard SoulSeek announce over the crushing blasts that someone had messaged me. Being that I was having little success going to sleep, I got out of bed to investigate. As I ambled sleepily to my computer, the most surreal tableaux in my life greeted me. The room was dimly lit with no apparent source, the computer lurked eerily in the darkness, and this unearthly noise filled the room. It was something straight out of a Kubrick movie; it would have been impossible without Drumm’s demented creation.

So, at least for me, this is the bulk of the appeal. I could say it's how these artists immaculately sculpt the noise (which they do). I could mention the half-heard human screams on the second track that would make David Lynch proud -- or the sense of dread he creates on the third track. But, that’s not really what it's about. Instead, it's about recognizing unconventional beauty and that it holds no less power than the creations of Mozart or Da Vinci. If you’re into this sort of thing, Drumm has made another album worthy of your attention.

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