Reutoff, Pawel Grabowski, Tarkatak, S.Q.E.

It should be no secret by now that Drone Records is specialized in drone / dark ambient music, produced on limited 7″ records with special packagings. Releases by completely obscure acts are alternated by better known names. This lead to over 80 singles of ‘non-entertaining muzak’ since 1993.

Reutoff – ReuTRauM IV
7″, 2 tracks, 2000 (reissue 2005) [DR-46]
The Russian soundsmiths of Reutoff are one of the more productive acts around. Each single in the Reutraum series is released on a different label. ‘Wailed’ starts quite tranquil and mysterious and evolves into a dense multi-layered structure with a distorted industrial sound but also featuring numerous samples, like religious choirs and playing children. ‘Veiled’ is a much more minimal affair, a slow and haunting soundscape built on a dark drone, with a somewhat irritating heavily manipulated vocal sample on top. Reasonably interesting, but not one of Reutoff’s most accessible releases.

Pawel Grabowski – Cirr’s song
7″, 2 tracks, 2005 DR-72]
Grabowski from Poland started working with music in the late 90’s in the field of experimental, electroacoustic, classical music. This 2005 contains two slow moving ambient pieces built on steady drones. Cirr’s songs are about drowning, inspired by a recurring dream. Even before I read that I associated these sounds with deep dark waters. Wonderfully detailed processed field recordings like metallic noises, creaking doors and watery sounds add a lot of (dark) ambience. Grabowski succeeded very well in creating a suffocating atmosphere! At his site you can hear the outtake The Work from the same sessions. Recently Grabowski released work on Silence Is Not Empty, Cronica Recs.and Mystery Sea.

Tarkatak – Skärva
7″, 2 tracks, 1998 (reissue 2003) [DR-34]
Tarkatak? Never heard of this project by Lutz Pruditsch. That’s probably my fault, because the enclosed discography hints at over 15 releases, mainly on tape and cd-r format. On the compelling title track of this single Tarkatak knows how to build up tension very well, though the sound is are tranquil and repetive. Drones and rhythmic elements come and go, dark basses enhance the mystery, mystery sounds are just on the edge of the audible surface, soft synths make up for melancholy. ‘Oroa’ is much more minimal, it has an ongoing low rumbling drone, suffocating most other sounds underneath. I would not be surprised if this track has various subliminal effects…

S.Q.E. – Wahid
7″, 2 tracks, 2005 [DR-73]
S.Q.E.’s 2004 release The Abyss stares back was previously reviewed on this site. The compositions of J. Greco are not pure ambient, but he incorporates ritual, folky and psychedelic elements. The title track has drones combined with a strong percussive sound, with flutes and chants added. It has an ‘ethnic’ Arabic feel, as the title and artwork already indicate. Other acts may have attempted similar things before, but it’s a fine tracks with a ritual style which does not easily bore me. ‘Epitaph 3’ is darker and more experimental, with heavily processed (voice) samples of which the sources are not easily recognisable. This is an estranging, filmic soundscape which makes you feels cold and isolated and forms a sharp contrast with the ‘warm’ sound of the other side. An interesting combination.

artist: Reutoff
label: Drone Records