Droning Keyboard Group – (This Is A) Redline – EP Sampler/Singles Review
Am I looking at all this correctly? I count eighteen. Eighteen records…EPs, albums…the occasional single, but no less than two songs, and some of these mid-sized records could be EPs OR albums really.
Did I mention these all got put out this year online? I am…not exactly sure how the dude behind the music of Droning Keyboard Group spent his time throughout the pandemic era, but I definitely have a theory just by looking at the sheer amount of tunes he’s dropped onto the internet this year. Safe to say he’s been making music…just a little bit of it anyhow. While those of you out there toil & stress over that one release every four years…I mean…I’m just sayin’ my man over here from Oregon in the DKG is running audible circles around the rest of the scene from coast to coast with this kind of creative output.
Dude’s got a work-ethic that clearly puts pretty much all of us to shame, even myself included – *gulp.
You run into these unique cats throughout the independent scene every so often. Artists like Glenn Murawski & Galliano Sommavilla, and projects like LoFi Chill or Droning Keyboard Group here…they spend a heck of a lot more time creating music and pumping that out there online than you’re ever apt to find them putting effort into their pages as far as information & details are concerned, and perhaps rightly so. Not only is it nice to stumble into something you don’t always know everything about, sometimes it’s fun to travel down the rabbit-hole of the internet to try & find out more info; and then of course, sometimes the music simply speaks for itself like you’ll find this here project does, and damn all the promotional torpedoes. As I’ve said many times on these pages of ours, the independent scene is essentially forced to fend for itself when it comes to putting the music out there to be heard, just as much as making it to entertain us…for some, it’s the details that come last, if they ever come at all. Y’all know me…I’m just as content to sit & listen in either scenario – I could track down a few pages out there on the DKG…aside from learning it was all coming out of the mind & skills of one singular dude and not actually a full group, there wasn’t a whole lot else I could tell ya other than the location of where he’s currently based, which I have already. Maybe I ain’t lookin’ in the right spots – it’s always a possibility.
So let’s move on then, shall we? I’ve got a sample set of radio-edits from the new EP called (This Is A) Redline. I say new like that’s really a thing here. New-er? New-est? Like I was tellin’ ya, by my count, there are EIGHTEEN new records out there THIS YEAR by Droning Keyboard Group – heckin’ take your pick, and get to listening will ya? It’s not that often that I jump into the music of a band’s or artist’s career at the outset of it all and feel like we’re all THIS far behind…and truly we are; in fact, there’s a safe bet to be made that while I’ve typed this review up, DKG has probably made a whole other album in that same timeframe. Truly – I’m astonished by how much music I’m seeing pop up online by Droning Keyboard Group – & I gotta say, after listening, I’m pretty much equally impressed by the sound as well.
How could ya not be? That might make a better question. Listening to the title-track of this EP, “(This Is A) Redline” is basically all I wanna do for the rest of the year. You don’t need me anyway – go listen to music on your own out there, and feel free to insert whatever it is you think I might have said about it – I’m gonna be right here in the studio turning this cut UP to the rafters and letting my ears absorb its sweet-sweet sonic nectar…so if anyone is wondering where I’ve gone to, that’s where you’ll find me. Don’t get me wrong, don’t get it twisted folks – I’ve found a lot of reasons for ME to love on what’s happening in the music of DKG from start to finish in these three tunes…but this…THIS…is absolutely for everybody. I mean…I’m practically willing to wager my house that you’ll find “(This Is A) Redline” every bit as irresistible as I do…it’s gorgeously beautiful, inviting, warm, melodic…it’s a full on colorful collage & whole smorgasbord of sound you’ll want beaming out of your speakers all day, every day. The energy & aura of a track like this is invaluable, and speaks volumes on behalf of the DKG specialness is capable of generating. You’re just not gonna find a more welcoming sound this year…that’s basically the facts, Jack – you’ll slide right into this smooth digital groove with the same ease I did…you just wanna melt away with a song like “(This Is A) Redline.” I ain’t even remotely kidding, it’s pure sonic perfection.
There are many, many things that are creating that noticeable memorability in the music of DKG – but perhaps above all, at least within these particular cuts, the immaculate bass-lines and stellar production as a whole really steal the show on this EP. Even a track like “Losers (The Valley),” which in many ways dials-back the energy, charisma, and overall accessibility from the massive heights established on “(This Is A Redline)” beforehand – every sound you’ll hear is crystal clear and makes a serious impact, no matter how subtle & chill this second cut may appear to be. There’s depths in the music of Droning Keyboard Group that you can dive headfirst into, and discover a wealth of reasons to listen underneath the surface – sure what you’re gonna hear on top or notice most is gonna be fantastic, but truly, it ALL is when it comes right down to it…no stone has been left unturned here when it comes to the details, and the more you listen, the more you spin it, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of everything you discover. No doubt that the extended minute-long intro, even in a radio-edit scenario like we have in these three cuts, makes “Losers (The Valley)” much more of a challenge for the masses…but for those out there that dig their atmospheric & ethereal vibes, you’d only be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on what Droning Keyboard Group is coming up with – so don’t let that happen. “Losers (The Valley)” works with a much more spread out sound…it’s not loose, it’s not wandering…it’s focused and determined, you dig? You’ll find it springs to life in different ways at several points along the journey…as to whether or not it’s going to end up rivaling either of the two surrounding cuts for your affection, I suspect probably not – but that merely comes down to an accessibility thing, and what you trade in that regard here, you gain in the finer arts of making music. Listen to the precision at work will ya? Whether or not it’s the vocals swirling through the mix or being spoken aloud, or the multiple elements that stack up into this tapestry of sound that’s woven into the fabric of final results – good LORDY…it’s just continually enticing to the ears no matter where DKG turns next with the direction of the music, or what gets added, or subtracted. There’s 100% undeniable skill at work here though…an expert ear for sound that fully understands what stands out in the music we listen to, and how to make that connection come alive for us, as listeners.
“Like Life Was Real” was more towards a balance struck between the worlds of sound on display through the first two tracks we experienced…still remarkably subdued & professionally controlled – personally, I love gems like this cut that could be every bit considered as an oddity out there in the ol’ music-scene we share together. Vibrant low-end…stellar atmospheric elements on top…freakin’ outstanding mix & production once again…and for myself, being a huge fan of spoken-word tracks & creative cuts that are by no means typical…everything we’ve got on display here scratches the itch for me. It’s mellow but intense…hazy but alive…”Like Life Was Real” feels exactly as its intended to sound, with vivid textures that drift in & out for a moment or two…just enough for us to feel like we could reach out and touch them in the air before they suddenly disappear and morph into something else. The fluidity is outstanding, the sound selection is exquisite, the ideas here in the mix, structure, and vibes overall, are straight-up top notch in every conceivable way…ingenious stuff, like you’d find in something like Boards Of Canada or Lemon Jelly at their most compelling & captivating. Mesmerizing in all the right ways – “Like Life Was Real” ended this brilliant sample set of radio mixes from the latest EP by Drowning Keyboard Group on notes I knew I’d instantly wanna repeat…this whole set-list is fully loaded with those from start to finish. With quality in ideas & sound like these, that rival the work-ethic at the heart of this exploratory Electro-Ambient based project…believe me when I say, there’s a very bright future here – Droning Keyboard Group has me more than interested & I’m positive this’ll have the same effect on you.
Listen to more music by Droning Keyboard Group at Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4PKwqwZ4pl2UAWrXLX5rX5
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