Saturday, 12 June 2010

Conference Paper

I'm presenting at this year's International Association for the Study of Popular Music conference at Monash University, Melbourne in November:


We’re All Doomed: The Democratising Potential of Drone Doom Metal.

In recent years, the rise in popularity of arcane heavy metal sub-genre Drone Doom has attracted a passionate chorus of detractors. Within metal and avant-garde circles, this music – typified by bands such as Sunn O))), Earth, Monarch and Grey Daturas – has been criticized for appearing simplistic, monochromatic and camp. Yet much of this negative commentary overlooks the exciting potentialities inherent in Drone Doom’s aesthetic palatte. As a music that can be easily accessed, composed and performed, it presents a remarkably democratic opening into heavy metal. As a body of established sound, Drone Doom is a popular form in which a range of experimental practices have found a wider audience. Drawing upon a range of secondary resources and the author’s own creative practice within the sub-genre, this paper strives to map and explore the democratising aspects of this emergent form of heavy metal. I argue that within Drone Doom resides a homological and broad-reaching set of tools and ideas that encourage participation from a range of listeners and musicians and thus a greater understanding of this framework speaks directly to the popularity of an otherwise difficult music.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bass & Nadja

Brief but pretty interesting interview with Aidan Baker of Nadja over here. I quite like a lot of his solo stuff and his band work and thus I'm especially interested in how he gets things sounding as he does without an amp. As the interview indicates, his effects are solid choices - not fancy ones.

I think the secret to Nadja's sound is the bass guitar. A DI'd bass tone is not such a stretch, it's pretty standard practice at almost all live shows and it's certainly in the mix on a lot of my solo stuff and with No Anchor. We're all used to hearing it.

And this is the great thing about the bass guitar: it's not such a tone war. Bass can sound warm and full straight in if you record and mix it right. So instantly, before all the drama of effects and antique amps, the bass guitar is already sounding pretty good. I love that about it. I feel like it's an instrument that works with you.

Why doesn't everyone want to play one?

Sunday, 6 June 2010