Boomkat Product Review:
One of the most iconic ambient albums of the last decade, 'Imperial Distortion' has been compared to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II and is without question the most important release in Kevin Drumm's colossal arsenal.
Dominick Fernow's Hospital Productions imprint has long impressed us with its output, but never before had we heard anything quite like 'Imperial Distortion' slip out of its ornate iron gates when it was initially released a decade ago.
Some of you will no doubt already be familiar with the label's noise-laden psychosexual tendencies, and those aware of Kevin Drumm will most likely be expecting a harsh onslaught of sound with which to scare your loved ones, but think again. Mego's genre-defining 'Sheer Hellish Miasma' might have set Drumm up as America's premier exponent of grinding noise, but 'Imperial Distortion' is an entirely different beast and confirmed Drumm as one of the most important figures in the American avant garde.
Unfolding over two hours of music, we originally described 'Imperial Distortion' as the post-millennial answer to Aphex Twin's seminal 'Selected Ambient Works Vol II'. But where Richard D. James created a floating world tapped into his lucid dreams, Drumm takes us into the darkest recesses of a broken world, somewhere deep beneath the sea with bombs and guns tearing flesh and concrete overhead.
The album offers an escape; the subtle oscillations and tones thick with guilt and pregnant with disdain for a palsied society, and on headphones leave you totally paralysed. Comparable to the early electronic experiments of Eliane Radigue or the BBC Radiophonic Workshop if they ditched the sci-fi for torture porn, there is a deep and rarely witnessed knowledge of the medium on show here. If you really need proof check 'Romantic Sores', perhaps the most immersive moment on the album, a track which builds from subtle pads into beautiful synthesized notes which phase and pan continuously, dragging you into a blurry, confused world.
Make no mistake: Drumm is no newcomer to the scene and isn't jumping on or off any bandwagon; and if you've never heard this incredible album before - you're in for quite a treat.