With a long history and discography backing them up, it must be said that Deep Chill Network know their drone. Minimalist in structure but designed and layered for solid impact, DCN’s music demands and rewards a close listen. Such is the case on Antarctica 3. From tactile explorations of the world above the ice to snow-blind wanderings through absolute cold and walls of blowing snow, each expedition here exhibits its distinct character. “1937” opens the release with a classic ambient feel. It may be the most welcoming track, with a certain sunlight-on-snow glimmer. Lest you get too comfy, however, “1908” immediately assails you with raking, icy winds and edge-of-feedback tones that hit like sun glare. Things get heavy on “1897” and the 21-minute “1947,” points where DCN hit their most isolationist. “1897” throws up big ice-cliffs of densely packed sound, while “1947” takes its time describing a vast and inhospitable landscape. Despite the weight of these pieces, the persistent near-white-noise underlays that run through Antarctica 3 do their job to lull your brain into a slight and pleasant stupor. It’s that intriguing dichotomy, and its resultant chemical reaction, that is most rewarding here. You can be slightly discomforted by the tone of some of these pieces, but you will always be pulled fully into them. On the other hand, there are waypoints of solidity worked into the journey. “1917” comes in built on purposely clumsy piano notes that wriggle into backward echoes, and “1969” reaches out with its ringing chimes, their resonance fading back to mix with the background drones.
This is, no pun intended, a truly deep listen. Deep Chill Network modulate their layers, varying the density from the gentle hush of a snowdrift to the pure crush of an avalanche–and both sides of the equation work well. Come see Antarctica 3. It’s a dangerous journey, but worth it.
Available from Dark Duck.