Deison: Quiet Rooms
Aagoo Records

With drone releases available in such plentiful number, the artist crafting one is well advised to devise some novel concept by which to distinguish his or her music from those of others. And to C. Deison's credit, that's exactly what the experimental artist has done in using field recordings of empty hotel rooms as the primary sound source for Quiet Rooms, forty-eight minutes of ethereal ambient-drone atmospheres. The material is best experienced as a headphones listen, naturally, given the textural detail that flows eerily throughout the recording's four settings.

Deison, who's been active in the noise and electronics underworld since 1991 and has appeared on split releases with figures such as Thurston Moore, Scanner, and KK Null, brings a patient and assured hand to the recording's material in allowing it to unfold and develop in carefully composed manner. While certain passages are soothing, tension is nevertheless omnipresent, in large part because the absence of a human presence within the space leaves the listener wondering what explanation might be offered for the sounds featured. Of course, ambient hotel noises do repeatedly inhabit the empty spaces—doors open and close, a water tap dribbles, a cat meows, a subway train clatters, and an automated answering machine message fills the space—but slowly drifting tones inhabit the rooms as plentifully and as a result the ghostly character of the pieces is maximized. The longest setting at seventeen minutes, “Air Conditioning” brings the project to a climax with a towering ambient-drone that's the densest of the four. In this case, the real-world details recede and the aural space is dominated by an immense, slow-moving mass of blur and shimmer that even, in isolated moments, assumes an aggressive industrial quality.

For the record, it should be mentioned that the recording is not an entirely pure document of empty room spaces, as Deison also drew upon electronics, synthesizer, and tapes in creating the four pieces in addition to hotel room sounds recorded in Barcelona, Venice, Milan, New York, and Los Angeles. Even so, one comes away from the recording hearing the so-called empty room with fresh ears as a living, breathing entity within which a ceaseless stream of activity, human or otherwise, arises.

November 2012