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(DREKKA - 'Unbeknownst to The Participants at Hand' LP cover, full size 1500x1500 design by Drekka)
(DREKKA, Laugardalur garden, Reykjavik, ICELAND, 23 SEP 14. photo by Sarah Dunevant)
(DREKKA, overlooking Hveragerdi, ICELAND, 03 OCT 14. photo by Sarah Dunevant)
(DREKKA, Circolo Arci Aggarbato, Taranto, ITALY, 10 OCT 14. photo by Sarah Dunevant)
(DREKKA, Silent Barn, Bushwick, NY, 20 May 14. photo by Sarah Dunevant)
(DREKKA, Viðey Ferry Terminal, Reykjavik, ICELAND, Jan 2013. videostill by Drekka)
'EKKI GERA FIKNIEFNUM,' REVIEWS
BLOW UP (Italy, #192, May 2014)
Dopo aver fatto parte di vari gruppi e progetti come 4K e Turn Pale, "Ekki gera fikniefnum," è il primo lavoro firmato da Michael Anderson con lo pseudonimo di Drekka. L'album indugia su atmosfere intimiste che spaziano dall'incedere funereo del piano in Tarwestraat all'incubo claustrofobico di Ekki gera fikniefnum, (reprise), dai rumori d'ambiente interpolati con efficacia fra le linee melodiche della chitarra in Window 7 sino alle note cristalline di Go from my window, in cui un tono vocale ieratico alla Sigur Ros si dissolve nella nebbia dei drones.
(7/10, M. Busti)
THE WIRE, UK (UK, March 2014)
Drekka's five abstractions on 'Ekki gera fikniefnum,' exist in a liminal state of becoming and dissolution. At times, elements of the tracks could very well be crafted from the bottom-up, through broken bits and pieces of crumbled compositions for maudlin piano, garbled tape loops and bedroom death-folk strum. Other moments sem to have been chemically eroded from a hymn down to somehting more rumpled and distressed. In the additive-subtractive process, Drekka's Michael Anderson plays with dualities of song versus not-song and the beautiful versus the grotesque, drawing parallels to the latter-day work on Cindytalk.
STILL SINGLE (USA, May 2014)
Glacial ambient music from the enigmatic yet productive Michael Anderson (Loveliescrushing, Turn Pale) under his Drekka persona, bird mask and all. Recorded in Indiana, Iceland and Belgium, these five meditations answer the question: where do you go beyond Goth; when do you become a God? Absolute stillness washes over the listener as angelic vocals rise from the mist and are buried under a wave of white noise, as tapes absorb dishwater and erase themselves in a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the opening of a new sound unearths a space so vast it cannot be filled, though it tries. Death-ambient wouldn't cut it, but the five pieces here speak to something other than life. Maybe sentience is all it can aspire to, but to experience it is an otherworldly feeling that brings the cold and uncertain characteristics of experience into full view. Great stuff. (http://www.daisrecords.com)
DISTORSIONI (Italy, April 2014)
La prestigiosa Dais (Psychic TV, Sasha Gray, Iceage, Youth Code) dà alle stampe il primo lavoro di Michael Anderson, conosciuto con il nome artistico di Drekka. Un personaggio assolutamente sdoganato, un fabbricatore e ricercatore del suono originalissimo e di grande sensibilità, la cui presenza in certi contesti underground nostrani non è certo passata inosservata. Se ne ricorda la partecipazione al Mu.vi.ment.s 2011 ma anche la sua preziosa tape in edizione limitatissima a testimonianza di una delle serate live presso Brigadisco's Cave. Questo lavoro è in realtà l'ideale sunto di svariati anni di attività di mr Drekka che finalmente decide in qualche modo di fermare su traccia il libero fluire dei suoi pensieri sonori e le performance estemporanee sempre rigorosamente live. Tra gli ospiti presenti oltre alla voce di Annelies Monsere anche Thorir Georg e Shane Butler (Quilt). Go from my window è un anonimo folk popolare riportato all'attenzione da Shirley Collins, viene sublimato nell'atmosfera eterea dalla voce di Annelies. La traccia è frutto di una serie di sovrapposizioni di live precedenti. Window 7 ci riporta ai toni placidi e caldamente ambient che meglio caratterizzano il sound dell'artista di Bloomington (Indiana).
Il risultato più stupefacente di questo lavoro è la particolare incastonatura tra le campionature sperimentali a volte stridenti, caotiche, vicine allo straniante esistenzialismo post industriale e un tappeto di tocchi strumentali acustici assolutamente fluidi, morbidi, drekkaquasi codeinic L'omonima traccia Ekki gera fikniefnum, risale al 2010 ed esattamente durante un tour in Islanda corrispondente all'eruzione dello Eyjafjallajskull, pur con le numerose e successive rivisitazioni ci restituisce un crescendo strutturato che instilla un coinvolgente senso di sospensione. La perfetta colonna sonora di uno spettacolo sontuoso e potente pieno dei contrasti prodigiosi di irruenza e armonia della natura. Tarwestraat 52 che alterna la staticità di ambienti brumosi a folate di glitch e stratificazioni armoniche, fino al florilegio orchestrale dei minuti finali. Ed è proprio il richiamo ad una immaginaria colonna sonora che continuamente si plasma e si definisce con modalità sperimentali e intuitive uno dei punti di forza e originalità di Drekka. L'Hafler Trio di McKenzie nei suoi picchi più ispirati, il sofisticato collage art diluito in rarefatte atmosfere ambient dei Deaf Center, l'universo musicale visionario quanto avvincente di Rutger Zuydervelt dei Machinefabriek che parte da suoni concreti per intessere le sue elucubrazioni droniche.
THE COOKSHOP (Romania, April 2014)
drekka : Faroese/Icelandic - from Old Norse drekka, from Proto-Germanic *drinkana.
at drekka : (transitive, intransitive, with accusative) to drink
Michael Anderson is an entity that flows through all micro and macro liminal spaces wherever life leads him. Having started his musical activity in 1986, he began taking liquid forms some ten years later. A mainstay of Bloomington's music scene, he also recorded pieces for this LP in Reykjavik and Gent, which might soon become a small pilgrimage place.
What struck me most is the sense of candor, genuineness, and just how much he loves and cherishes his pieces. Going through the live archive one can also notice a certain naturalness in the way Drekka develops his sets. He has a keen sensibility for cinematic soundscapes with a strong effect in both recorded and live situations. As well-documented as it may seem, this collection is more like another palette he has put together, with arrangements that will likely be translated into other contexts, like a merry-go-round: "What one listener perceives as absolute, Drekka sees as only a loosely-fitting frame in his gallery of visions".
Highlights include Annelies Monseré's serene, crystalline voice drowned in a flood of static ('Go from My Window'), 'a snowblind short film' jamming between gently plucked snares, loose singing, gusts of wind, echoes and bending surfaces ('Ekki gera fikniefnum,'), a constant beat and flickering sounds, like dying stars, revolving around my head, from ears to eyes, like a stripe, at a slowly accelerating pace ('Tarwestraat 52'), and finally the 'Reprise', that's like a moment of disorientation, when somebody's trying to remember something.
To conclude: a seducing artifact, less targeted at obsessive inquirers who live within their "analyzing self", and more at those who can simply feel and see the foliage for what it is.
WARSZAWA (Japan, March 2014)
It's been almost 9 years since the last release of this original "free folker", but he's back, this time on the Dais label.
What a surprise that he's still at it. Here we have a new release from Drekka, the solo project of Michael Anderson, a man who was "free folk" before that was a thing that people even called it. Back in the day he was releasing stuff on Bluesanct, do you remember? He'd released under names such as 4K and Turn Pale and other experimental acts, but this release combines the elements of those works wonderfully.
Recorded in Reykjavik, Iceland and Gent, Belgium.
He constructs hypnotic acid drone folk through prepared instruments and layered experimentally processed sounds to make gothic, even psychedelic songs.
The opening track features vocals by Shirley Collins.
After listening to his music for a while its ominous, beautiful, stimulative sounds make it feel like your sense of hearing is being sharpened. This is a welcome revival story. Limited to 300 copies, so get one quick.
(translated from Japanese by Mike Dixon)
NORMAN RECORDS (UK, March 2014)
This new Drekka 12"/LP comprises an interesting mixture of collaborations, live recordings and a couple of tracks originally released on a 3" CDr in an edition of 20.
It starts with a beautiful, slow song with Annelies Monsere singing languidly over some ghostly melodic drones before it all gets taken over by a waterfall of static mess, only for that to recede to uncover a newly mutated take on the first half's prettiness, all chopped and scrambled into a weird sleepy bit of concrete drone headfuckery. Then 'Window 7' mixes some creaking, swelling drones and untidy sonic clutter with a very pretty bit of looped guitar recorded in soundcheck from Shane Butler of Quilt. I like how it really sounds like he's in a big empty room. Then we get to the title track, or the first of two title tracks since it is reprised on side B. That's the weirdest number yet, some hyper-present guitar plucks, eerie snippets of child singing, and all manner of fluttering and flopping dronewobble and static chatter, along with some buried icy high pitched drones and solar wind whooshes.
It's a cold and claustrophobic concoction that conjures up feelings of isolation and uncertainty, getting more and more alien and weird as it drifts into rumbly, gloopy oblivion. Its counterpart on the other side keeps similar melodic themes but the approach seems more digi-glitch and less static obliteration. Both quite uncomfortable pieces though. The other track is the 'late night version' of 'Tarwestraat 52', and opens with an incredibly understated passage of tape hiss and distant, intermittent bass drum thuds. It's a bit like that scene in Jurrasic Park when they're in the car and the T-rex is getting closer and they can see the ripples in the cup of water. This goes on for a good five minutes or so and then there's some heavily sustained piano notes with an eerie wibble like manipulated tapes.
I'm starting to think the bass pulse has more of a King Kong human sacrifice feel to it but then some subtle computerised flutters and tweaks start to creep in around the edges of the soundstage shrouded in smoky tape hiss and little cymbal hits, and all this then begins to disintegrate into a mush of chopped up fragments like in the first track. It's a solid EP of creepy late-night drone-pop with an interesting mixture of analogue and digital sounds. Chilly.
VITAL WEEKLY (Belgium, April 2014)
Music by Michael Anderson's
project has been reviewed a few times (Vital Weekly 705, 868 and 888 for instance), but it has been around for much longer, since 1986 to be precise. It's not something that I easily can make my mind up about. On the oldest release I know, 'Collected Works Volume One' (Vital Weekly 705) I heard some drone like music, with a bit of vocals. A bit folk noir, shoegazing like, perhaps. On the more recent works it all was a bit more experimental, with electronics, field recordings and a bit noisy. The recordings on this album are from a couple of years ago, 2009-2010, partly recorded on the road in Belgium and Bloomington and in a studio in Reykjavik. That piece was from a 3"CDR in an edition of 20 copies, for his Iceland tour; Iceland is not that big it seems. The piece from Belgium contains the singing of Annelies Monsere. So far the facts. The five pieces are all quite moody and textured, loaded with lots of
guitar sounds, electronics and maybe, just maybe bits of field recordings and
Monsere's carefully singing/chanting. There is an interesting psychedelic element to the music, of a sustaining nature. It seems as things go on and on, but it never gets to a point of being boring. One keeps on playing this and hearing new configurations move forward or backward. The drum machine of 'Tarwestraat 52' ticking away with a nocturnal hum around it is a great piece. This is all rather informal music with all the 'mistakes' carefully left rather that meticulously edited out. This makes this record rather warm and human and an excellent one at that. I know Drekka is in Europe from time to time - next time I should not miss out on it.
Frans de Waard