Northern Spy
Arnold Dreyblatt, minimalism

I've been a fan of Arnold Dreyblatt for many many years starting first with his Tzadik release, Animal Magnetism, and moving on to Nodal Excitation, Propellers in Love, The Adding Machine, and now a collaborative project with Megafaun on Northern Spy Records entitled Appalachian Excitation.

  <p>Dreyblatt could be considered a minimalist – his music has a simplicity to it. His music often features droning, aggressive string sounds – they almost sound overdriven, the force perhaps a vital technique in conjuring the sounds that Dreyblatt is striving for – sounds which at times recall the crystal excitations of Harry Oldfield, or perhaps harmonically rich instruments such as the Uillean pipe, etc. The sounds are delivered in driving yet strangely calming rhythms. These ingredients coupled with the suggestive song and album titles, seem to be hinting at some secret sonic wizardry: arcane music science knowledge, harmonics, perhaps tartini tones and other musical black magic.</p>

  <p>The new album is titled <em>Appalachian Excitation</em> – I‘m not sure if the title refers to the fact that Megafaun is a North Carolina band, or a reference to the album's feel, which does at times seem to have vague echoes of Appalachian music – bluegrass in particular, I suppose. It's not your typical Dreyblatt album, if their is such a thing, but his trademark sound is still largely present throughout </p>

  <p>There is a different feel, though, that perhaps Megafaun brings to the table, or that was perhaps inspired by the notion of 'rock band' or Appalachia. Electric guitars and bass really standout as something different, as do rock and marching drum snare sounds that may recall civil war fife and drum bands, little nuances that make the album stand out. </p>

  <p>It's a great idea, this collaboration; Dreyblatt's music lends itself easily to this sort of thing, being apparently not a highly technical music, and having a singular sound not easily pigeonholed into any existing mold, be it classical, experimental, or rock. As such, it could be as comfortably at home along side a Ernstalbrecht Stiebler as a Sunn O))). </p>

  <p>If you're already a fan – get your hands on this! If not, this is as good a place as any to start exploring Arnold Dreyblatt’s brilliant music, but for what I consider the quintessential Dreyblatt, do also look into <em>Nodal Excitation</em> and <em>Animal Magnetism</em>.</p>