Here’s an interesting album. Much music can be easily categorised – that’s the job of the marketing department, and if it can’t be slotted into a pre-defined box, their job becomes that much harder. Presumably then, Instant Drone Factory would cause them a few problems. Which is a good thing.
In a world where much creativity is sacrificed to corporate expectations and where – presumably – bands are expected to toe the company line, Instant Drone Factory is something entirely different. Now we in the rock and metal community know that music can be so much more than simply lowest common denominator fare; it can be creative, obtuse, emotional, inspirational and ground breaking; it can defy expectations and broaden horizons. All you need to do is to use your ears and open your mind. Instant Drone Factory is a perfect example of the directions in which creativity can take music.
A collection of international musicians (German, Italian, Japanese and English), Instant Drone Factory come together to play shows and record albums without prior rehearsal. It is an exercise in creative improvisation by a group of like minded individuals whose stated aim is not to stand out from the rest of the group; this is not a competitive situation: it’s a collective effort, collaborative and participative.
“Ho Avuto Paura del Mare” (I Was Frightened By The Sea) is the band’s third album, following 2006’s “Critical Mass” and 2008’s “Live”. Sound-wise it is – inevitably and quite rightly – difficult to pin down. Obvious influences are Can, Faust and even some Captain Beefheart. An album which is as much a creative process as it is a group of musicians is naturally and necessarily experimental, avant-garde in its conception and its ultimate results.
Each song is a mystery from start to finish in that it’s impossible to know quite where it’s going; well, if the band is on a journey of discovery then so too is the listener. The driving rhythms that carry many of the songs forwards have a kind of space rock feel to them; but only kind of. Each one is different enough from the others to defy any real categorisation. From the piano and percussion of opener ‘Ain’t Nobody’, through the repeated, Can-like themes and vocal incantations of “Put Down The Guns.”
Instant Drone Factory’s music is immediately engaging, hypnotic and unpredictable. This is a band on the edge of the envelope, pushing into unknown and unexplored territory. It’s quite a ride, and one that Instant Drone Factory take sometimes in a restrained, controlled fashion, while at other times they throw caution to the wind and work up to a frenzy of sound and danger. However it’s done, it never sounds anything less than musicians exploring, roaming across landscapes of inspiration and improvisation.
‘Out Of The Chaos’ is well named as weird and sometimes jarring sounds are given form through a controlled rhythm section and guitar riff within which everything else is held. The chaos continues in ‘Ghost Rider’ as a frenzy is worked up by the band before they bring it back to a quiet conclusion of just piano and vocals. Final song ‘Do You Love What You See’ rounds off the album in a quieter, more restrained and underplayed manner, but which is no less compelling nor hypnotic than the rest of the album. Again there are definite echoes of Can in the vocals and instrumentation.
Ultimately, Instant Drone Factory has chosen a brave way of making music: improvisation provides no safety nets as each musician walks a high wire between instant gratification and immediate failure. They pull it off very well indeed, providing the listener with a constantly moving, ever shifting collection of inspired, eclectic and just downright unusual music.