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kevin drumm - Relief
Chicago noise outsider Kevin Drumm has been tirelessly pursuing a lonely, blackened strain of experimental music for many years, and while we're obsessed with pretty much everything he puts his name to, 'Relief' is maybe the perfect culmination of his fractured sounds to date. Fusing the wavering synth-led dread of Hospital Productions albums 'Imperial Distortion' and 'Imperial Horizon' with the teeth-grinding extreme noise of breakout 'Sheer Hellish Miasma' Drumm has found a rare middle ground that pulls together the best of both. There can be no denying that 'Relief' is a punishingly intense record, but underneath the barrage of radio static, distortion and feedback you can just about make out slow moving harmonies; the kind of eking lone gunman intensity we last heard on, well, 'Imperial Horizon'. A single near forty-minute slab of noise, 'Relief' isn't an easy undertaking, but the length and repetition reveals all of Drumm's hidden subtleties and restraint. Sure those aren't words you would usually hear attached to a noise record, but 'Relief' is not your average noise record. It should be easy to compare the record to Tim Hecker (especially 'Mirages'-era), Skullflower, or Yellow Swans but there's something exceptionally different about his sound - Drumm's music is careful, singular and thoughtful and the rarity of his skill is starkly evident in repeated listens. Without a doubt one of the finest experimental records we've had cross our path this year, and one nobody in their right mind should pass up - don't say we didn't warn you.