While this is not Ryan Emmett?s first release under his Droopy Septum moniker, it is the only one I?ve heard so far. And I?m not really sure what to make of it. For one thing, the name of this experimental drone solo project suggests it doesn?t want to be taken seriously. So do some of the track titles: ?Sun Starved Streams Still Flow? ? this alliterates just a bit too heavily. ?Howling Lands?, ?Frogs of the Dark Woods?. Yeah, right.
Problem is, even if Droopy Septum has been called ?the Jorg Buttgereit of noise? in earlier Foxy Digitalis reviews, this album on New American Folk Hero doesn?t sound ridiculous to me at all. It opens on the same guitar drone chord as Earth?s ?Thrones and Dominions? album, suggesting that some heavy riffing is about to set in, just as in Earth?s opener ?Harvey?. That doesn?t happen, though, but everyone who has increased the volume in expectation will still be blown away as ? 15 seconds into the album ? the recording suddenly becomes much LOUDer, blowing up that sort of vacuum-cleaner drone that seems to live in (and on) itself but is in fact a very slow guitar melody underpinned by a simple synthesizer motif. If this track should aspire to match the majesty suggested by its title ?Sun Starved Streams Still Flow?, it fails, but it?s definitely a decent, highly evocative exploration of drone narrative.
In the ten minutes of the final ?Ode to Jinx?, Droopy Septum leans more to his electronic, synth-based side, which sounds a bit too sterile to seriously irritate. Elsewhere, thankfully, the ?Frogs of the Dark Woods? don?t croak, but brood stubbornly in a forest of thick, mysteriously wafting leaves. The atmosphere is that of those Chinese movies that involve love, sword fights, strange spells and drunken wizards. ?Chinese Ghost Story? and the like. You never know how to take them, but they?re great anyway. Accordingly, what makes ?Howling Lands? different from other drone records is that it manages to evoke notions of nature and household, of wooden wand and lawnmower, of brackish waters and defective sockets all at the same time. And somehow still works. 7/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (31 July, 2007)