Mike Armine - Verse & CleasingI have a strange relationship with ambient drone and post-rock. Often it will send me to sleep if I sit down to listen to it and like it, sometimes I am captivated by the tension, but at others I find it unpleasant, tedious and unrelaxing. So if I like it and am in the mood, I might not last the record, while if I make it to the end it can mean I missed the point.

Not only did I fall asleep between ten and twenty times listening to “Verse & Cleansing Undertones of Wake/Lift”, on one occasion I accidentally had my phone repeating the first track for half an hour before I realised the reason the songs all sounded the same this time. It’s simply that this record swallows me up and removes me from my environment in a way most other ambient drone has been unable to do.

Rosetta frontman Mike Armine puts away his screaming vocals for this side project that explores at length the background sounds of their live shows. Although I’ve been calling it “ambient” it’s not a term I’m always happy with and certainly not in this case, because to me it suggests background music – music that is unable to hold your attention, not mesmerised as I am in this case. I need to listen to it without distraction, without people bothering me. It’s far from being something to provide a backdrop to conversation. And I should also make it clear that I don’t fall asleep with every listen and I’ve savoured it in full many more times.

It’s not a record I can really do a track-by-track review of so I’ll just say that it starts with sirens who call to you and drag you in then carry you through wave after wave of different experiences, at times tense and at others relaxed. As with all drone I enjoy, the thread fades in and out of prominence as a range of themes plays over, under and around, delivering that perfect feeling of change without noticing it. A bit like growing old I suppose, and perhaps it’s that organic nature that allows the gentle, welcoming arms to embrace you and comfort you. It doesn’t mean the record is without its haunting moments, such as the opening of “The Non-Place Of The Body”, but you never want to escape.


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