C.M. von Hausswolff "There Are No Crows Around the Hancock Building"
When listening to drone albums I sometimes have to think of a Tamagochi. Of course drone music usually sounds anything but cute, but I feel like the relationship between the musician and the drone is like that of the user and a Tamagochi. You can feed it, nourish it until it becomes fat, but you can also keep it on a diet. You can play with it and make it move. Sadly enough, you can also let it die.
Carl Michael von Hausswolff?s 40 minute drone on this album goes through just that process. It?s made up of dark and pulsating feedback with the addition of field recordings taken on the top floor of Chicago?s Hancock Building. In relation to the album title, the drone is meant to picture crows flying around the building. For the first few minutes of the piece, the field recordings are somewhat subdued. You can hear some street noises here and there, but it?s mainly morphing feedback sounds, coming and going. After around ten minutes those dissolves in a steady swoosh. Soon after, there?s a heartbeat and the drone is back. The field recordings get more attention around the 18 minute mark. There?s conversations between mothers and their children, some doors and footsteps. They?re interrupted by short crackling static noises. This middle part of the composition sounds a bit like the crows are on hold. It reminded me of somebody pressing the pause button on an older VHS recorder. There?s still a little bit of movement back and forth because the VHS is not able to hold a steady picture.
The field recordings leave around the 27 minute mark and the crows are back. This is where the fun begins because von Hausswolff slowly starts to leave the low frequency ends of his drone and introduces some screeching feedback. That only lasts for a minute or so though. Then it?s time for the outro, which is a bit long maybe. At the 31 and 35 minute marks, one thinks that the drone has breathed its last breath, but each time it makes a return with some of the darkest pulsating of this disc. It sounds like the agony of the Tamagochi not wanting to die. Just when you think it?s fully revived, this album is over. Maybe the batteries just went dead. 6/10 -- Stephan Bauer (27 June, 2006)