Tag Archives: au vol

[Archive 05.16.12]

1) Rambutan, “Trapdoor to Infinity,” Rambutan/Tidal Split (Aguirre Records)
2) Obscurer, “Shining Arbors,” (House of Alchemy)
3) Arrington de Dionyso and Thollem McDonas, “Masked Dancer,” Ten Thousand Tigers 
4) Tony Conrad and Faust, “The Death of the Composer was in 1962” Outside of the Dream Syndicate 
5) Charlemagne Palestine & Janek Schaefer, “Day of the Demons,” (Desire Path Recordings)
6) Jeremy Sklad, “Y’On (Rough Mix)”
7) Pholde, “Of Uncertain Aspect (excerpt)” (Ping Things)
8) Au Vol, “Lake Ontario,” Apothecary (Broken Tessitura)
10) Mpala Garoo, “Kid Island,” Ou Du Monde (Aguirre Records)
11) Noah Barker, “Sunbers, Cool, Fresh”

[Review: Au Vol, ‘Apothecary’]

Creating  captivating and thought-provoking drone music is both alluring as it is difficult to artistically pull off. Few groups have been able to weave together a drone album that incorporates both soothing live instrumentation and anxiety-inducing found sound. The Ontario, Canada-based group Au Vol seem to have found a niche in the genre in which they have masterfully pieced together an array of musical emotions for their sophomore release Apothecary.

Group members Alex Pederson and Jasmine Landau have created yet another album that takes the listener on a pleasantly unsettling journey. Stretching over a massive 1.2 hours, Apothecary opens with the nightmarishly dissonant “Don’t Phone Home,” which lulls and sways with orchestral elements acting as if it were the album’s overture. As soon as the listener is abated in a calm state, the second track “Scrip in Blue” rings and chimes in a way that is reminiscent to one’s morning alarm clock. This type of transition from serenity to anxiety continues throughout the album and seems to be a central theme. At one moment “Apothecary” is an electric lullaby and the next it is as if someone is violently breaking into your home.

“‘Til Death” is the album’s most haunting piece in that it transplants the listener into a horrific scene in which broken glass and the worried sobs of an unknown woman are texturized into an angry swarm of distorted sounds. This track itself is a small masterpiece leaving an aftertaste that is revisited again and again until the album revs up to its gripping conclusion.

On their own, each track pulses and grooves in its own unique way without stepping off the thematic paved by Au Vol. Overall, Apothecary is an engaging and effective collective of terrifying tracks that all together leaves the listener with a raised pulse and a deeper appreciation for drone.


Review by Sean Michael Smith