REVIEW: Droneroom – “Jesus Year”

Jesus Year

The brainchild of Blake Edward Conley, Droneroom, or lowercase d-roneroom if you’re nasty and hate grammar, is a fitting tribute to the righteousness of Frippertronics and the ambient guitar movement. Here the guitar serves as both a sound source to channel ideas, densely packed reverb soaked ideas, and as a westernized lead instrument, replete with Ennio Morricone lines to boot. The end result is a guitar heavy and largely instrumental mix of guitar musings that, as left largely unchecked, meandering and forge their own path. Conley definitely has a comfort born of experience in his music here, chasing tangents with no real reservation.

Opener I Used To Sleep To Dream (But Now I Just Dream Of Sleep) pays a sort of tribute to Labraford and, in its own way, if not just the entirety of the Constellation lineup. This makes sense as part of a scene that, at least at current, doesn’t exist here, but one that I very much welcome. Droneroom is experimental, but not to the degree that you feel it necessary to study in advance, a sublime shift in your perception brought on by sound, a welcome reprieve from the mundane. There are soaring leads, followed by moments of melancholic beauty. You imagine yourself here in a warm bath, enjoying the moment and soaking in not only your physical environment, but your aesthetic one, all the same.

The western, but not-quite-country edge of Ladybird, flows smoothly out of the opener, allowing for a meditative guide through the Conley’s mind. The lines here are definitely guided by tremolo’d guitars, reverb soaked to the point of seeming like cut from a dream. It’s that vibe the informs the rest of the album, from Syd Barrett inflected psychedelia of I Think I Know You…, which manage to blend an almost Unwound sound into the mix, the only real vocal take on the five song record, to the mystical Dancing Plastic Flowers, which shifts mid-song to an almost classic Atari vibe. This is a fantastic album to chill to, and one worth your time, the perfect amount of drone, as the old Eno adage goes, keep you interested, but never overwhelm you.

Listen below and feel this.