If you think 24 hours is a pretty poor lifespan for a robot, you'd be right -- but it is an exceptional lifespan for a human-generated live performance. 24-Hour Drone is an annual event broadcast on Foothill College's KFJC 89.7 FM during which musicians from the community -- including synth wrangler Wobbly and saxophonist Phillip Greenlief -- pay tribute to and contribute to the musical drone: slow, sustained tones generated by various groups throughout the 24-hour period from 10 p.m. May 30 to 10 p.m. June 1.
We sat down with KFJC's drone majordomo Nozmo King to discuss the record that popped his drone cherry and what listeners can expect from 24 hours of human-wrought drone music.
What was your "in" for drone music? Like, not necessarily the first drone record you heard but the one you fell in love with.
Soliloquy for Lilith by Nurse With Wound. That record really sealed the deal for me. I remember clearly feeling very connected and present while listening for the first time.
What was that experience like? Where were you? Were the lights off? Were you high?
I'll try not to ramble here ... Soliloquy for Lilith was originally released in 1988, but I was still trying to get my head around the dichotomy of Martin Denny and Throbbing Gristle. In other words, Nurse With Wound was not exactly on my radar. In 1990, United Dairies released a 4xLP box set called Psilotripitaka which was basically the first four Nurse With Wound records. That was when I became aware their existence and could acknowledge that it was something I should know. But I couldn't afford Psilotripitaka and I admit now I wasn't quite ready then to behold the wonder that is Nurse With Wound just yet. Fast forward to 1993, Soliloquy gets re-mastered and re-released to CD. I was with a friend of mine and we were making our weekly pilgrimage to Amoeba Records, amongst other things. Bought the CD and played it on the way home. It was summertime. Allow me to set the scene: We were two twenty-somethings who had spent a full day in Berkeley and were now basking in the glory (and dirt and sweat) of accomplishment as obsessive music collectors. It's late at night and we've both run out of things to say even if we don't want to admit to it. And this off-kilter drone is slowly swirling around my head. Something just clicked and I realized, THIS. IS. AMAZING. I actually wasn't high, and for once I didn't really need to be.
Tell me what folks can expect from 24-Hour Drone. Who is performing? Will anyone be in it for the entire 24 hours?
24-Hour Drone is a day-long, continuously live performance with over 40 musicians working in concert to create a seamless and unforgettable listening experience. From what I've been told, the very first 24-Hour Drone was not simulcast on the internet or radio. Word got out on campus that it was open to anyone to participate for as long or as briefly as they liked. As a result, there were a lot of people clustered into certain hours of the day, but there was always at least one person performing to keep it going. We have to employ a little bit more structure for radio, but it's still a relaxed environment. Speaking for myself, I feel it's the kind of performance listeners can dip into at any point, staying as long as they wish.
Here's the schedule. Up-to-date details can also be found at http://kfjc.org/drone
22:00 Introduction (Nozmo King)
23:00 Tom Heasley
24:00 The Fathers (Derek Gedalecia & Nathan Bowers)
01:00 Thomas Carnacki
02:00 Amphibious Gestures
04:00 Talk More (Shanna Sordahl, Andrew Weathers, Aaron Oppenheim)
05:00 Pink Gaze
06:00 Dominique Leone
07:00 Kristin Miltner & Cliff Caruthers
08:00 The Norman Conquest (electronic set)
09:00 Nux Vomica
10:00 David Lim & Ven Voisey
11:00 Jim Haynes
12:00 Richard Faulhaber
13:00 Ashley Bellouin & Ben Bracken
15:00 Robert Rich
16:00 Michael Gendreau & Seitz
17:00 Thomas Dimuzio
18:00 Phillip Greenlief
19:00 Julia Mazawa, Benjamin Tinker, Tom Djll
20:00 Matt Davignon & Philip Ringler
21:00 Gosling (Sarah Elena Palmer & Danishta Rivero)
22:00 The Norman Conquest (acoustic set)
23:00 Wrap Up (Nozmo King & The Norman Conquest)
What do you think of drone's (the genre of music) Google problem with drones (the automated robot)?
I am in full support of drone against drones.
Which do you think would win in said hypothetical battle?
If history teaches us anything, it's that systems of control are fallible and institutions with longevity have a greater chance of outlasting those Johnny-come-latelys. Think scissors beats paper, but rock cannot beat paper. Drone could totally wear down drones. Just like way we smoked out Manuel Noriega!
Give me a primer for drone to share with people who are new to the genre -- a list of five essential records or artists.
Because I can't limit it to just five...
Robert Fripp & Brian Eno - No Pussyfooting
Alvin Lucier - Music on a Long Thin Wire
Ellen Fullman - The Long String Instrument
Pauline Oliveros - Alien Bog/Beautiful Soop
Eliane Radigue - Trilogie de la Mort
Phill Niblock - A Young Person's Guide to Phill Niblock
RK Faulhaber - Krill
irr. app. (ext.) - Ozeanische Gefuhle
Arcane Device - Envoi in Cumin
PGR / Merzbow / Asmus Tietchens - GRAV
Cas de Marez - Cathedrale de Chant
David Jackman - Sol Mara
Are you still looking for participants from the local music community? If so, where can they inquire?
Even though we have a full line-up for 24 Hour Drone, I am always interested in hearing from musicians for possible live [sets] on KFJC! Please email me at email@example.com
Lastly, who do you wish would listen to the 24-Hour Drone?
Everyone is welcome. Even if you think drone is not for you, I encourage checking it out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. There's such a wide range of styles and musicians participating. For example, Phillip Greenlief will be playing a saxophone drone using circular breathing, whereas Robert Rich uses modular synths and processed electric guitar. The first hour we will set the tone (haha) by explaining what we feel a drone is, and its interesting history so far.
Can you share one of the more enticing nuggets of that history here for our readers?
As a boy, LaMonte Young was influenced by the 60hz hum of electrical transformer boxes. And even though he is often considered the father of drone music in the western world, the mythology of his music has gained a disproportionate life of its own, often to the detriment of the music itself. I've always associated the drone of a tambura with LaMonte Young, not so much a pure sine wave. But electricity isn't really pure, and that right there forms the basis for everything I find appealing about drone.