Richmond Tape Club Vol. 3: Elian (C20, Richmond Tape Club)

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Elian is the drone project of Michael Duane Ferrell. On Richmond Tape Club Vol. 3, he contributes two ten-minute tracks of quiet electronics, often rhythmic in approach. They’re also named after two great horror actors, so that kind of tells you where Elian’s allegiances lie in terms of sonic worship.

The first side-long track is titled “Christopher Lee.” It starts out rather quiet with a distant bass hum, and then it works its way up from there, adding subtle crackles of electronics, touches of synth, and a few dissonant notes to the collection. Rather than climax, however, the track comes down in the middle; it adds tinny textures that loop, as well as resonant notes that add to the din of the original sustained chord. There’s another small build of sorts, where these textures grow and get louder, adding density to “Christopher Lee” before it cuts out.

“Peter Cushing” begins with a sustained drone and chords; there’s a high-pitched note held out in the background that comes forward as the other pieces fall away. It’s a tense opening – there’s a stillness to it that gives the expectation the track will open up at any moment. Elian continues to add high synth notes on top, progressively altering and sustaining them to coincide with a rushing bass sound underneath it all.

The result is a couple of simple drone tracks that reward the listener the longer they continue. These tracks are reminiscent of movies of the horror legends they represent, but they’re also transcendental in their approach.

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