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Kevin Drumm – Necro Acoustic

Last copies of the box-set. 5 x CDs in wallets, 24 page booklet, sturdy box with foil printing.

5CD box-set first released on Pica Disk in 2010.


CD1. Lights Out
New album of necro acoustic material recorded 2006-2008.

CD2. Malaise
Reissue of the limited edition double cassette previously released on Hospital Productions in 2009.

CD3. Decrepit
Previously unreleased material from 1998-1999 and 2008 + reissue of Drumm's tracks from split LP with 2673 on Kitty Play Records (2005) + the limited edition LP on Dilemma Records (2008).

CD4. No Edit
New album of prepared guitar material recorded in 2009.

CD5. Organ
First full lenght release of this classic track heard in edited form on the "Comedy" album. This is the full 55 minute version as recorded by Jim O'Rourke in 1996. Believed to have been lost for years, but recently discovered.

"Unlike the previous three box sets from the wonderful Pica Disk label, Necro Acoustic is not as much about surveying a career as it is showcasing the full repertoire of Drumm. Sure, there’s archival material dating back to 1996 that has never seen the light of day, but there are two discs of purely new material, as well as some recent (but extremely limited) tracks as well.

The first disc in this set, Lights Out, is a mere half-hour, but as painful as it is, I don’t think anyone could stand for it to be any longer. Recorded between 2006 and 2008 using just two pulse generators, a filter, and feedback, Drumm builds a grating composition of punishing noise. The opener "Spraying the Weeds" begins innocent enough, with its deep space pulses and static that sound like a more sparse, brittle version of CCCC until a harsh ringing sound pierces through, swelling up to be more and more uncomfortable. The pain continues into "Blistering Statick," with the tinnitus inducing pitches contrasting against deep bass swells, and eventually an almost melodic layer, sounding almost like the cheap jingle of an ice cream truck. The short "Needleprick" cranks up the high end to ultrasonic territory: I don’t have a dog, but I wish I could see one respond to this little piece of pain. The massive closing "Idle Worship" is almost a pure endurance test: mid-range insect buzz and painful, overdriven high end create a wall of relatively static sound, with minor changes occurring as its 15 minute duration continues on.

The second disc, Malaise, is a reissue of a long out of print double cassette on Hospital Productions, presented here in 11 different tracks for convenience. While still harsh as all hell, there’s a bit more variation to the pieces here: the first has such a filtered sound it could be playing off of a cell phone, but occasionally lets loose into untreated blasts of noise. It’s not an overly abrasive one, but one that is more textural and varied. The third segment has a similar approach, with maximalist ambient passages focusing more on tonal dynamics than harshness. Tracks two and six fill the need for the harsh noise wall thing, the former’s jet engine rush and layered noise feels like a nod to the Incapacitants or other old school practitioners. Track nine, clocking in at 15 minutes, avoids the harsh route entirely to focus on walls of oscillator tones, like a massively sustained organ played as loud as possible, to create a more forceful approach.

Decrepit is the compilation disc of the batch, combining pieces recorded between 1998 and 2009, some of which have been previously released. The two part "Dilemma" was originally released as a one sided LP, but is two variations on the Kevin Drumm sound: the first part is cut up feedback and treated guitar noise, with the occasional puff of analog static, while the latter throws out an almost rhythmic bed of noise with sharp, cutting static on top. The tracks from a split LP with 2673 appear here as well: "Totemic Saturation" sounds like a techno synth patch in its death throes, buried amongst layers of harsh grime that grows to a massive swell, but never loses that bit of familiarity. "The Blurry Stupor" is one where the harshness is restrained, allowing the multitude of sounds to be heard individually, creating a hazy sound collage rather than a digital enema. The remainder of the tracks stay more in the world of noise, from the painful noise sheets of "Stomach Acid" to the filtered static and fuzz, but with a digital sheen overall, of “Band Pass.”

The other new and exclusive material here is No Edit, an hour long track in two parts using only the most rudimentary of sources: prepared guitar, EQ, two pedals, and a Marshall mini-amp. Because of its sparse instrumentation, there is an overall thinner sound: beginning with the noise immediately, one can almost hear the poor little amp in pain, vomiting out guitar squall resembling a detuned AM radio more than a Marshall stack. The focus is more on the scraping of strings, and the second half is a bit more mellow (or perhaps the amp just gave out at this point). The latter portions are subtler, focusing on sustained rattles and the occasionally overt string pluck.

Finally, the closing disc, Organ, is one of Drumm’s earliest works, which appeared heavily edited on the Comedy disc from 2000. Here, it is presented in its entirety: nearly 55 minutes of two organs blasting through guitar amps and effects. The structure is pretty rudimentary: there’s alternating sustained chords and key bashing throughout the duration, but power develops through the simplicity. The sound becomes this massive, monolith of noise that is subtly treated through pitch changes and effects as it goes on, but as a whole it takes the sound of such a "big" instrument and blows it up to epic, nearly absurd proportions.

Again, I’m sounding like a broken record, but Lasse Marhaug has done beautiful work, presenting the five discs in a clamshell box with a booklet full of pictures of what looks to be abandoned homes, providing appropriate imagery for the sounds of filth and decay that are contained within. That, coupled with the variety of material presented makes this a great set: those less familiar with Drumm’s work can get a good overview of his career while the hardcore fans will find enough new material to enjoy.
(Creaig Dunton, Brainwashed.com)"

Kevin Drumm

Avant-garde tabletop guitarist Kevin Drumm was born and raised in 1970 in South Holland, IL, playing in a handful of rock bands before relocating to Chicago in 1991 to work at the city's Board of Trade. He soon began his experiments with prepared guitar, applying objects including magnets, binder clips, chains, a violin bow and even toenail clippers to distort the instrument's sound. In time, Drumm befriended a number of members of Chicago's growing improv community, including Jim O' Rourke (with whom he served in Brise-Glace, additionally contributing to Gastr del Sol's Upgrade and Afterlife album and Ken Vandermark. In late 1997 Drumm made his solo debut with a self-titled (Perdition Plastics) and has released superb duo records with Taku Sugimoto (Sonoris), Axel Dörner, Martin Tètreault (both Erstwhile) and Ralf Wehowsky (Selektion). His chameleon-like presence has been documented on a number of projects, each revealing new facets of his wide-ranging and unique talents on both guitar and electronics. Drumm seamlessly melds the worlds of acoustic and electronic sound, occasionally teetering on the edge of silence, yet always remaining impeccably musical. Kevin Drumm has recorded and performed with Phill Niblock, Tony Conrad, Jim O'Rourke, MIMEO, Mats Gustafsson, John Butcher, Thomas Ankersmit, Taku Sugimoto and many others. 

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