RATIONS NOISE / UNKNOWN RIVER DRIVER: Dronestruck\Remains: CS

Dronestruck: Gone, on this post-Rations noise project, are the punchy punk riffs and choruses. They’re replaced with experiments in space and texture and knob-twisting. A heavy guitar riff is tweaked, slowed, and spread out over a static drum sample with a looped robotic voice repeating, “men and women of the 174th Attack Wing stop the killing.” With an ear for noise, it could be described as pleasant or even pretty. This atmosphere of understated sublimity seems to clash with the heavy anti-military message voiced in a monotone voice over spacious washes of sound. I played it often, but I struggled with the effectiveness of its message. Each time the mood was relaxing. Its lack of palpable anger seemed an ill-fitting mix and it initially rubbed me the wrong way. It took me several listens to realize that I never stopped thinking about drone strikes. In a time of such ruthless political violence, it’s easy to get caught up on a pet issue or to feel beat down by many. And here, through atmospheric noise that’s calming in its repetition, you’re reminded of genocide and that there’s no respite to be had. Finally, let me note, a vocal loop, seemingly sampled from a punk song—way deep in the mix—it’s angry, shouted words muffled and distorted to inaudibility, then it’s gone. It happens another time. Different lyric. Maybe a different singer but with equal brevity, ethereality, and anger. Struggle is infinite. Keep fighting. Remains: Unknown River Driver play an uncomfortable, dark, driving post-hardcore that gets under the skin, making for a solid split. –Craven Rock (86’d)