Pilotram - We Must Sleep
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Pilotram
We Must Sleep

Some people would probably listen to a CD like this by Pilotram and simply say that nothing much happens. As a person who likes ambient and drone music, I would say that although less happens than on your average, everyday release, it's far from saying that nothing much happens. When music is slowed and stripped down, it's also the time when it's the most vulnerable. Instead of relying on exotic melodies or heavy rhythms your train of thought has to adjust to the music and instead look for changes in timbre and other subtle tweaks.

Although Stars Of The Lid have sort of painted themselves into a unique corner with their heavy, dense drone music, the work of Pilotram recalls slightly earlier work by the group that is still beautiful in its own way. Although the group has played shows with The Shins and Broadcast, I simply can't imagine pairing this self-titled release with anything much more than a couple glasses of wine and a comfy chair or even bed. While it's not completely music to fall asleep to, it is music to clear your head with. Like any drone music, that process mentioned above of changing your listening mindset is actually a rather zen-like one.

Over the course of 5 tracks and 56 minutes, Pilotram create mostly warm and soothing drone music that never falls into the cheesy category and also never ventures into abrasive areas. The release opens with washes of guitars and keyboards on "Caspian Airwaves" and reaches what is probably the highpoint of the album on the fourth track "Linear Intersection." It's on the latter track in which only guitars and bows again provide the sonics, but they ebb and flow in such patterns that it almost seems like surrogate lungs. "Sacred Space" closes the release with the longest (and oldest in terms of creation date) track on the release, and while it's not quite as effective as the later material, the soft bellows of keyboards and guitars unfold in a way that makes you believe the album might extend past the boundaries of CD technology. As mentioned above, this is a minimal drone piece that is well-constructed and quite absorbing at times. Considering most of the work on the release was created years ago, here's hoping that Pilotram furthers their craft even more.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2004-06-27 00:00:00