XXXI by Warning Light
2014 CD


Drew Haddon has been recording music under the name Warning Light since 2004. A former member of Atlanta's dance punks Roman Photos and psychedelic synth duo Tree Creature, Haddon has gone on to curate his own tape/CDr label Persistentmidnight and work under numerous monickers like High Marks and downers. XXXI is the third in a trilogy of albums Warning Light has recorded for the Stickfigure label, but is a marked departure in terms of sonics and arrangements. After the pastoral ambience of his debut Further On and the experimental eclecticism of Wild Silver, Haddon spent several years refining his techniques and rethinking his music. The first result was the loop-oriented minimalism of The Lost Patterns, released on DKA as a cassette earlier this year. But the true flowering of his new approach can be found in the six tracks of XXXI, a rapid fire collection of Krautrock inspired electronic music. The music on XXXI still ebbs with ambience, but more importantly it flows. XXXI is an album of movement and rhythm, somewhere between synthetic soundtracks and motorik electronica.

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Warning Light is the Atlanta, Georgia-based one man band created by Drew Haddon (previously a member of the bands Roman Photos and Tree Creature). This is the third installment of a series of albums Haddon has released on the Stickfigure label. This six track disc features songs that may remind listeners of the eerie sparse electronics of bands like Kraftwerk. The compositions on XXXI are smooth and somewhat soothing...all the while sounding somewhat cold and distant (like the previously mentioned Kraftwerk). Lots of cool analog sounds here that give the music that overall sound and feel of music from the 1970s and 1980s. We love it when artists come up with music that doesn't easily fit within the confines of the twenty-first century. This fellow is making music that is timeless while taking listeners back to a time and place when things were more direct and simple. Our favorite cuts include "Grace Under Pressure," "Through the Storm Lands," and "Buried In Ice, Thinking of You." - Baby Sue

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"For a decade now, experimental composer Drew Haddon has been perfecting his icy soundscapes under the moniker Warning Light, occasionally stabbing his monochromatic drones and fractal loops with hints of rhythmic color and texture. For his next album, XXXI, due out next month, Haddon promises to inject even greater movement into his ambient compositions resulting in what he calls "a rapid fire collection of Krautrock inspired electronic music." Lead single "Grace Under Pressure" is our first peek at this new aesthetic and you can certainly hear what he's driving at; namely, the insistent motorik pulse that propels the song forward. Warning Light's most recent efforts, especially his A Vast Moment EP (read our review here), have hinted at this shift towards more rhythmic and colorful music, and this feels more like a culmination than a work in progress. Once a man who only worked in varying shades of black and gray, Haddon has lightened up considerably, and "Grace Under Pressure," with its loopy synths and video game tones, has a welcome air of fun and frivolity." - Latest Disgrace

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"Can something be playfully ominous? Mischievously menacing? Because that's how I'm tempted to describe the new single from Warning Light ("Elaine Says") - a slow-pulsing carnival ride of dread that would be downright goofy if it weren't also so damn eerie and creepy.

If you break the track down into its constituent parts, there really isn't much to it-a steady bass thump, some shuffling electronic clatter and a simple, almost dopey, organ melody, all laid across a blanket of dark industrial synths, seething and droning in tension-inducing waves. But while the song lacks the motorik resolve of previous single, "Grace Under Pressure," there's still the sense of rhythmic movement that has marked composer Drew Haddon's most recent evolution. I would hesitate to place this track among his finest work, but it still manages to leave quite an impression. - Latest Disgrace