You stand in the cramped chamber at the top of a desolate lighthouse, encased within transparent glass on all sides. The revolving fog light is turned off; any sea vessel can easily spot the jagged cliffs under the full moon. You walk out onto the balcony to smell the salt on the gentle breeze, but something else catches your attention. A black, orb-like cloud has appeared on the horizon, and it moves slowly towards you, and it grows ever larger . . .
Drone is a widely misunderstood genre. It’s deceptive simplicity and reliance on patient subtlety can be a turn-off for those just looking for the next big hook. It requires a bit more from listeners than most other types of music, but as this record shows, it’s usually well worth it. A Fragile Geography is the newest full-length from Seattle-based, New York-transplanted producer Rafael Anton Irisarri, a true master of the notorious musical style.
Patience is key when it comes to these compositions; six monuments of enveloping ambience that steadily evolve from emptiness to colossal mountains of woven, harmonic tones and back again. The shady atmospheres are palpable and deeply melancholic, but the melodies that shine through the haze are hopeful. Irisarri utilizes a concoction of piano, cello, and worlds of synthetic know-how to achieve this beauty.
This is one of the few instances where I’ll recommend a specific environment for experiencing this record. Cancel your plans, put on a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones, turn the lights off, get comfortable, and press play. Even if you can’t stand the thought of drone music, I urge you to give this one just 40 minutes of your time. You won’t regret it. If you’re seeking potent, ambient drone, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)