Holy Drone Travellers/Tongue Helmet
Holy Drone Travellers
जन्म/Birth // Saw-whet Records
Holy Drone Travellers जन्म/Birth is an astonishing first release from the Edmonton-based quartet. While containing only three songs, this record is just over 30 minutes long, although when listening, time becomes meaningless.
As implied by the name of the group, this record contains mind-altering drones. However, what really sets HDT apart from other drone/experimental artists is the excellent use of traditional eastern musical elements. Instrumentally the arrangements are minimalistic, creating a bedrock that allow each member to crescendo almost unnoticeably. Around thirteen minutes into the first track “Saham”, the instruments start being pushed to their limits and cacophonously played around each other, and while these are meditative drones, an air of tension surrounds this music.
The anxiety produced by this music gives it an edge that puts this record into its own world. As someone who has explored and studied Eastern music, it rarely has this cataclysmic feeling that the Holy Drone Travellers provide. जन्म/Birth is a world of immaculate beauty and dreary tension.
Plus, it has a vinyl release!
- Declan Paxton
Psychotropic Ape // Urbnet
Tongue Helmet’s Psychotropic Ape is a head-bobbing, trip-taking vibrant record, that takes the dreaminess of Psych-Rock and punctuates it with the stylings of Hip-Hop.
First off, I just want to say, this record has that classic Hip-Hop vibe, you know the one where everything is slightly grainy but super groovy? That kind. It really draws the listener in and helps bring focus to the flow of the lyrics.
Tracks like “Sunstroke” and “Cartoon Kool-Aid Kids” use loops that reflect on the sample heavy period of Hip-Hop. Reverb is used heavily on background textures, creating a large environment that the band stuffs full with a large array of sounds. From guitars, to horn samples and vinyl scratching, this record blends genres in a love letter to the music the band clearly holds dear.
The standout track “Sunstroke”, makes this obviously outright with lyrics referencing musical icons from a variety of stylings. This record has obvious crossover value, much like early albums by Gorillaz. It’s blending and mastering of Funk, Hip Hop and Psychedelia really help cement the groups position in the weird environment they create.
Psychotropic Ape is a summer stomper, and it’s a real fun record to keep on repeat in the background, spending your time subconsciously grooving out.
- Declan Paxton