When one first hears the word “drone” the first images that come to mind are soundscapes that meander and lead the listener to a lull of catharsis and introspection. The tones and sound effects put the listener into a waking sleep, and helps the listener expand their imagination to even greater depths. One thing you will notice about drone music is the fact that you cannot “rock out” or dance to it. All you can do is listen and let your mind wander to the outer reaches of the universe.
Mathias Grassow & John Haughm’s latest collaborative effort “Aurae” deliberately gives this effect when you hear it closely. I have been super interested in their project for years now because I have an appreciation for the work Haughm has done through Agalloch and Pillorian, and after multiple listens loved the work of Grassow. There are moments in life when you just need to relax and forget about the chaotic world around you. The music found in “Aurae” is a perfect soundtrack to calm these moments in life. I have never heard an album that has immediately relaxed me and intrigued me in balanced doses. There is an unwavering sense of expanse and infinite when hearing “Aurae”. I see images of empty, rolling landscapes of green and wind-touched stalks of wheat blowing in the breeze that parallels with my own heartbeats. There is sense of wistfulness while being lost in the fog of shadows and light in the music. And the bleak, barren landscapes the music invokes gives glimpses of doorways that lead somewhere else to a place beyond the body and even soul.
The brilliance of this album is that it gives listeners different experiences, one person could feel an emotion different to another person when listening to “Aurae”. When one could feel peace and serenity the other could feel suffocating anxiety. Drone music has this kind of effect which makes it such a fascinating sub-genre of music. There have been some drone albums that made me feel uncomfortable or even disturbed while others made me feel pensive and relaxed. This dichotomy is one of the key components to a successful drone album, and “Aurae” effectively does this seamlessly. The calm, tranquil art of Grassow melded with the oppressive darkness of Haughm’s music delivers an album that puts your mind through millions of emotions/feelings and somehow puts you into a better state of mind after multiple listens. If you are looking for something unique and different to listen to I would give “Aurae” a chance, if you want to journey into the astral plane “Aurae” will guide you there.
John Haughm Bandcamp: https://haughm.bandcamp.com/
Mathias Grassow Bandcamp: https://mathiasgrassow.bandcamp.com/