An Unstable Release Date for an Unstable Text: June 19th
An Introduction by Owen Coggins and James Harris
Charlie Blake, Dronoclasm //
//I draw circles and sacred boundaries about me; fewer and fewer climb with me up higher and higher mountains—I am building a mountain chain out of ever-holier mountains //
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra //
//And what defines the scale of the ultimate symbolic mountain is its inaccessibility to ordinary human approaches. [...] The door to the invisible must be visible //
René Daumal, Mount Analogue //
//Before time… before even the gods… there was only…//
Bong, “The Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai” //
...Drone is the beginning and was before the beginning // Drone was the Nothing // Nothing Droned // The droning of Nothing was the Nothing from which Drone is self-created...
...Om // the first sound, the cause of the universe, itself a drone // an empty signifier swells to overfull // evolves, fragments, ramifies into a constellation of meaning the way a solid droning tone may begin to wobble, vibrate, oscillate // mutating, expanding, infecting // spreading, branching, self-intersecting, self-interweaving, self-absorbing, self-annihilating, becoming different through manifesting the same // “The empty set is the set with nothing in it. The number 1 is the set with only the empty set in it. And so on…”
...the End of Drone, already contained within the drone, is the End of Everything // Drone is the End which outlasts itself...
...from near-silent single tone pure ambient minimalism to crushing oceanic hyper-amplified metallic maximalism // from trance-like repetition of sameness to explicit experimentation with the radical question of what it can mean for a sound to be different from or the same as another sound // drone rotates or fades or spirals away from linear historical/genealogical genre conventions toward a meta-foundational sonic arsenal // drone is capable of infecting all genres as it is itself composed of ontologically primary techniques for sound generation and modulation, realized in extreme extension toward outer- or inner-most depths, boundaries, limits, frontiers, horizons // different variants of drone select different techniques to maximalize or minimalise, whether hijacking and mutating source material or inaugurating original tonal topologies // all genres (all life, all differentiation) can be imagined as mere clusters of patterns of iterations of momentary deviations from the drone...
...elements, both sonic and metaphorical, of drone exist in natural and artificial worlds, in geometries of plant and water, architecture, even space, underground, mind // the Universe breathes - the physical expands and contracts // the Socius hums incessantly in communal conversation // the ceaseless oscillatory dynamics of the Brain silently howl...
// For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together //
St. Paul, Romans 8:18-22 //
...this book is a call to approach composition and attentive listening as ritual practice // to approach drone music as a training ground for the attention, for cognitive endurance, for a weird absorption from which hidden transformations might flower // to approach the melodic and rhythmic movement toward and away from central harmonic figures, the manipulation of the “tension between background and foreground” as ritually patterned upon the mystics’ tuning of the tension between subject and object, between inner and outer worlds // listening to the spark of impenetrable darkness, in contemplation of the shadow paradoxes of language, mysticism and death...
...the spectral spectacle of drone’s all-devouring taste mirrors the range of this book // intensive studies of emptiness, inaccessibility, and eternity // death, death of god, death of death // forest, mountain // Infection, parasite, swarm: disparate mind in shattered multiplicity // sine waves between ascetic austerity and wild excess, at either pole confessing the violence of the sacrifice, of the sacred // insane or becalmed transformations of perception, infinitesimal time-slices and isoluminant eidolons // all contained within the elastic-walled labyrinth of this new spacetime, our non-terminating Cymatic Church...
...drone casts paradoxes into perception // sounds heard as light, metaphorical and alchemical, offer the transmutative properties of mystical shimmer //Wolfe// in ‘resonance subordinated to redundancy’ //Freeman// spatial sense is transformed, illusioned, bewitched, the drone ‘echoing off an invisible realm’ //Wolfe// drone foregrounds the difference and connection between sound and hearing //Kang// ‘the possibility of stasis and the sprawling occupation of its power’ //Drone Box// levitation //Csihar// ‘It escapes itself in a perspectival “experience” of time not tethered to the specific form of the human subject, to be integrated into an exceeding and not-necessarily human - an alien or machinic-transcendent subjectivity’ //Caron// drone is excess and/or asceticism //MOUTH// honey and tar //Strickland/////
...drone invokes antinomies and contortions in language too, which, ‘alienated, orbits around a central absence’ //Coggins// words dancing in rituals of forgotten purpose around the chalk circle which it is not forbidden but rather impossible to enter // in the language spat from drone’s black centrifuge, there is again and again repetition and repetition and yet transcendence of sameness // the intuition of the death of intuition //Shakespeare// the absolute emptiness of emptiness //Absentology// drone is ambient, atmosphere, a hum behind the world, but it is also metal… that pagan resonant interval //Drone Box// riffs beyond riffs, metal about metal, a meditative treatment of heavy metal’s symbolic codes so radical it may not be recognised as such //Coggins// this Möbius strip, this snake which eats itself yet is still nourished, yet is still consumed, this convulsion, infects and is infected, is the infection // is the ashy pest // ‘is legion, yet imperceptible, neither faith nor reason can fathom their presence or the principles that pertain to them except through their manifestation in distress, agony and death throes’ //MOUTH/////
...drone is death and drone is immortality, which is death // endless life is 'an increasingly pestilential drone', a background before which our deaths become relief //Shipley// it all starts with the signal path //Newstead// we 'send a signal and let it die' //Hissen// the signal, channel, noise all at once introducing 'a silent mode of communication that is directed towards nothing other, the No-Other, which is death' //Absentology// silent but communicative, towards death yet from death, expression through mortal silence // the gift of the skull of a fox //Legard// 'Everything that is dead quivers' //Cascone// 'not rhythm at all but merely a near endless ripple of vibration stretched across expanses of time...' //Norman/////
...drone ruins // is found in ruins // decays, sustains // witnesses decay // drone is 'eternity's future burden' //Shipley// that term, burden, bourdon, an archaic term for drone, the memory of the word ruined by time // monoliths, pyramids, stone circles, temples //Csihar// ‘the subject sinks into the labyrinth of the ear...' //Freeman/////
...drone is the life which grows through the ruins, testifies to ruin, is agent of ruin // creeper // root // undergrowth, overgrown // to the palace of birds, to a shallow garden //Legard// a 'monstrous aspect' of Nature ‘seeks to annihilate everything individual' //Shakespeare// a 'whole forest is heard in each sound...' //Cascone/////
...drone is the absolute // it is 'the infinitely dense form of silence, the recollection without object' //Absentology// the sound of ‘a god pulling gravity’s strings...’ //Norman/////
...drone is finally a portal //Cascone// a mountain, liquefied // the listener 'must conceptually climb untold numbers of unholy mountains to see the surface again’ //Harris// the pieces included here departing from each other and returning, requiring a re-reading of an earlier segment, a tumbler falls into place, the lockpicking continues, repeat ad infinitum, ad nauseam // an incessant, droning, revolving system of holy mountains // each climb faltering, failing, exhausting, “coming up against an insuperable object”, rotating into a new mountain with its own failures // each failure driving a new mountain range, each new range innovating its own apparatus for climbing from out of the experience or the text, for climbing out of experience or out of text, for climbing out of climbing itself // Written in the textual body of the climber, the history or memory or output of the climber, each climb demands tools from the other climbs, each apparatus applied to old mountains makes new challenges makes new failures, growth comes to be measured in cycles of failure, “progress” measured only by the uninitiated // for Wittgenstein, language was a ladder to be climbed up, and then discarded // for Daumal, the base of the mountain must be accessible while the summit inaccessible (as outlined in a book which stops, mid-sentence, unfinished at his death) // this book too, then, is one to be climbed out of // drone sound at the end of sound // ‘record needle gently click-flapping’ //Norman// ‘Listen to all at once if possible. Join’ //Hissen/////
//For what is God but the index that pointed to the failure of all signs?//
Michel de Certeau, The Mystic Fable //
//For what is drone but the unending echo of generational potential?//
Aliza Shvarts, “Troubled Air” //