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Label & Cat.Number: Oaken Palace Records OAK-004
Release Year: 2014
Note: the Brighton based UK post-rock/drone project dedicates their release on the charity label OAKEN PALACE to bees and bumblebees => contemplation guitar drones with occasional field recordings & sound effects; lim. 500 on orange vinyl, all profits from this release will be donated to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust;
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €18.50
More InfoOaken Palace Records not only focuses on already well-known artists and bands, but aims to promote promising newcomers as well. After supporting Aidan Baker/Nadja on an extensive tour and releasing a collaborative album with Aidan as part of Southern Records’ Latitudes series, Brighton-based Droners Plurals will therefore dedicate a whole new album to mother nature.
Bugenès Melissae refers to the ancient Mediterranean myth that bees can be generated from a cow’s carcass, and can be translated as “oxen-born bees”. Here is an old description of the ritual:
“Build a house, ten cubits high, with all the sides of equal dimensions, with one door, and four windows, one on each side; put an ox into it, thirty months old, very fat and fleshy; let a number of young men kill him by beating him violently with clubs, so as to mangle both flesh and bones, but taking care not to shed any blood; let all the orifices, mouth, eyes, nose etc. be stopped up with clean and fine linen, impregnated with pitch; let a quantity of thyme be strewed under the reclining animal, and then let windows and doors be closed and covered with a thick coating of clay, to prevent the access of air or wind. Three weeks latter let the house be opened, and let light and fresh air get access to it, except from the side from which the wind blows strongest. After eleven days you will find the house full of bees, hanging together in clusters, and nothing left of the ox but horns, bones and hair.”
The Animal: Bee (Anthophila) and Bumblebee (Bombus)
Bugenès Melissae is dedicated to bees, and all profits will be donated to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
It has been estimated that a staggering 97% of the UK’s flower-rich grassland has been lost due to changes in agriculture since the 1930s. This has already led to the extinction of 2 species of bumblebees, and many more species of bees and bumblebees are threatened. Bees and bumblebees play a key role in producing the food we eat, and also help pollinate many wildflowers, allowing them to reproduce. Without this pollination many of these plants would not produce seeds, resulting in declines in wildflowers. As these plants are often the basis of complex food chains, it is easy to imagine how other wildlife such as other insects, birds and mammals would all suffer if bees disappeared." [label info]
"Long form droney ambient occupies a pretty similar space to things like raw black metal, modern art, brutal death metal, all that kind of stuff. There’s undeniably good stuff and bad stuff, and those familiar with the genre can generally tell them apart, but to those unversed in it, it’s one hell of an argument, as anyone who’s tried talking art with a Daily Mail reader will understand. Far as I can tell I’m happy to put Plurals in the good part of the drone/ambient genre.
It’s like painting a really big picture – it has to engage, it has to be something you can lose yourself in, and it has to reward the keen eye with more detail when you look closer. I’d be of the opinion that ‘Behaved Like Mercury’ is perhaps a bit scattergun; the contrasts between the pastoral, peaceful tones and the more human, colder sections don’t seem to achieve that much, beyond ruining the flow and splashing some cold grey on an otherwise interesting soundscape. That said, it’s quite nice in how the track develops beyond the first few minutes of slight confusion, gently swelling up while the guitar slowly increases in intensity; it’s rather tranquil and Natural Snow Buildings-ish and there’s nothing wrong with that. The washed out guitars in the background are a gorgeously evocative touch too.
Overall, I feel the second track is the real piece dé resistance in the release; ‘Kamu’ dropping out the slow burning bliss for something a lot more ambiguous, textured, and interesting. The insistent guitar pedalling through the whole piece was a great idea – at points it’s beautiful, others ugly and queasy; adding dissonance or forming a neat little harmony when required. There’s a few points where the delayed samples do get a bit over the top and pulling back – you can never have enough restrain with drone really – would be a good idea, but overall it’s a fascinating listen. The super patient build and the increasing space of the track is pretty powerful. I don’t have a cheesy metaphor (like drowning in space, maaaaan, like falling into the sun) but it’s definitely really cool.
Yes, all in all it’s a delightful bit of very very droney music. Recommended if you like twenty minute long beat less soundscapes for sure." [The Sleeping Shaman]
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