Friday, 8 December 2017

Lumen Drones - s/t (2014)

Anyone for some nice wintry Nordic drone rock?  This collaboration between Nils Økland, specialist in the 8-string hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle), and Ørjan Haaland (drums) and Per Steinar Lie (guitar) of Norwegian post-rock band The Low Frequency In Stereo was recorded in November 2011 and released three years later.  Almost every review I've read of this album makes comparisons to an Australian band called The Dirty Three, who apparently have a very similar MO - I'm sure I'll get around to checking them out eventually (anyone in the know have any recommendations?), but for now, here's Lumen Drones.

Even by ECM's eclectic standards, this album feels like an odd thing for them to release - I'm guessing Økland's previous associations with the ECM stable helped.  In any case, the music is striking, driving and invigorating stuff that more than merited a release.  Skeletal guitar themes give way to grinding chords that move the tracks forward along with the pounding drums, overlaid with Økland's melodies, the extra drone strings of the hardingfele suiting this style of music perfectly.

The trio's sound is arguably at its most effective when they really stretch out and get lost in the groove, and the two longest tracks, Ira Furore and Echo Plexus, are accordingly my favourites on the album.  That's not to dismiss the more compact and subtle tracks in the album's second half, though (Lux, Husky and Keelwater), which show an equal talent for understatement and atmosphere.  Hope they make another one sometime.



  1. Really enjoying this, great discovery, thanks!

  2. dirty three's 'horse stories' is my hot tip

  3. Listen to Dirty Three's "Ocean Songs" ASAP, you'll see the similarities right quick. Warren Ellis made the distorted, dirty violin sound cool. Great band. They were Chan Marshall's backing band for the recording of the Cat Power album Moon Pix, too.

  4. Anything by Dirty Three is brilliant. You have an excellent blog btw.