For almost thirty-five minutes, fogbank drones course through Sloum’s self-titled debut EP, a washed-through barrier of sound that parts in places to offer glimpses of the stark landscape behind it. Although on the short side, this disc is packed with interesting work, most relying on the play between mesmeric guitar drones and snips from field recordings that just border on being too out of place. But, skirting that line, the occasional rasp, clatter or scrape that appears suddenly out of the misty wash defines Sloum’s style and moves the disc away from being just a drone work. Helfpul, too, are the few moments where the guitar is a guitar, as in the hushed song that appears late in “Locked Tides.” (And, to give the instruments their due, the sad, slow piano that leads “Tin, On the Savannah” makes a simple and solid statement in its too-short three-minute appearance.)
The drones here are very well done, deep and undulating almost to the point of being a brain massage (check out “Nowhere Is A Cloud in the Distance”), but tempered with intermittent doses of edge to bring you to the surface again. What I like most about this disc is that, played quietly it’s one sort of work, fuzzy at the edges, almost meditatively soft and quite pleasant as a space-enhancing loop; but listened to in headphones or just more attentively, it’s a wholly different thing, built on minute sounds and well-placed sonic touches that show an understanding of the use of found sound and field recordings as elements. It’s a very good debut. Keep an ear on Sloum.
Available from Drift Theory.