Seht: The Green Morning
Digitalis Industries

The Green Morning's front cover shows early morning sunlight breaking through the barren trees of a forest while its back depicts a pink-hued image capture of Mars' surface—natural analogues to the release's equally earthbound and ethereal sonic material. The third proper CD release from Drone Minimalist extraordinaire seht (New Zealand-based Stephen Clover) impresses on many counts, not the least of which is Clover's disdain for cheap effects and dramatics.

After the 10-minute gloomscape “Valles Marineris” begins the album strongly with a slowly intensifying and receding industrial churn, “Olympus Mons” initially seems perhaps a bit too uneventful to justify its quarter-hour duration, but Clover remains faithful to the music's spirit and the listener gradually attunes him/herself to its glacial unfurl. The churning “Way in the Middle of the Air” and ambient “Cydonia” offer brief episodes of contemplation before the 20-minute “Chryse Planitia” lifts off. Softly humming like a well-oiled factory machine, the almost imperceptibly mutating setting revisits, if more subtly, the escalating drone concept of “Valles Marineris,” embedding it this time within a mass of entirely different character, a drifting sea of prickly crackle and shimmering tones that intersect and flow into one another.

Clover cites Olivier Messiaen, Terry Riley, Tony Conrad, Faust, Stars of the Lid, and others as influences but, while each might individually shadow Clover's pieces, you'll hear little direct reference to any one of them on The Green Morning. Clover goes his own way, carving out his own carefully delineated path through the droning thickets of his chosen genre.

November 2006