Amek Drone Ensemble – Op. 1

7.3.20 by Ryan Masteller

So many things are getting canceled anyway, we may as well cancel 2020 in its entirety, am I right? Every public event, unless you live in the southern United States (which I do … sigh), is going right out the window, gatherings of people banned because we’re all disgusting petri dishes made of meat that live to sicken the others. This includes, among a vast array of other activities, sporting events, church picnics, hang gliding classes, and musical concerts. I’m here to rant about my newly hang-gliding-lesson-free calendar.

I kid! This site’s for music, not hang gliding.

Among the COVID-related event casualties was Sofia Drone Day 2020, and if you, like me, were like “That sounds awesome!” upon discovering of that day’s existence and then immediately crushed that (a) it was canceled and (b) Sofia is a city in Bulgaria and you weren’t going to make it anyway, you might be surprised and potentially thrilled that Bulgaria’s own Amek Collective has you covered. Sort of. See, the Amek Drone Ensemble, made up of label vets Linus Schrab (V I C I M), Angel Simitchiev (Mytrip, and Amek honcho), Margarit Aleksiev (OOHS!), Ivan Shentov (krāllār), and Maxim Mokdad (OOHS!), were probably planning a pretty sweet 2020 set when the cancellation occurred, so they had to react fast. And react they did, releasing their Sofia Drone Day 2019 set as the ADE on cassette to tide you over. Tide you over till what? Till everything gets back to normal, that’s what.

So now we have Op. 1, a thirty-minute improvised glowing, hovering, rippling sphere of synths, loops, guitar, etc. that morphs and re-forms itself over the course of its gestation. The players absorb the spirit of Drone Day like it was belief in some sort of dark wizard Santa Claus, translating that faith into wave upon wave of thickly defined sound. Listening to Op. 1 has me thinking that maybe the quintet has set their gear up somewhere near the event horizon of a black hole, but then I realize how silly that is, because none of that gear would sit still enough to play. Still, this is some heavy, heavy drone.

So don’t feel too bad that you missed out on Sofia Drone Day 2020 (because you were anyway); feel good that you can wrap your mind around Sofia Drone Day 2019, because, you know, drone is timeless that way.

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