“Further On” finds Haddon having progressed immensely with his compositional skills since “Eternity Drones”.
Ten new tracks.
Release DateJanuary 26, 2010
Further On, Monoliths
So far, 2010 has been a crazy year at the PostLibyan-cave, what with impending layoffs, the general economic malaise, missing SxSW, and this website's 10th anniversary. To give you an idea of how hectic it has been, i honestly thought that i had written this review a few months ago. No, seriously -- i was looking at the stack of promo CDs i have, and this one was in there. "I wrote that review in January," i thought, and removed the CD from the "unreviewed" stack and moved it to the "reviewed but not yet alphabetized" stack. (I have a "stack based" organizational system. It works for the most part…) Later, when i was going through and correcting some dates on the front page of ES, i noticed that there was no Warning Light listed. "That's strange," i thought, "Because i know i wrote this review." So i went digging further and further, and found that i had written a few sentences, but had never actually finished the review. This has never happened to me before. I maintain a good mental list of all the records i am in the process of reviewing, how much i have composed of each review, the general rating that the release will get, and when i anticipate being completed. I don’t keep a written list, because normally i can juggle all these things in my brain. Not so this time, due to the previously mentioned assorted stresses bombarding me in early 2010. And with the excuse out of the way, let me apologize to Warning Light for the delay in posting this review. Warning Light is the solo project of one Drew Haddon, who makes music out of layers of synthesizers. One interesting thing to note is that the first thing listed under the "Influences" section of the Warning Light MySpace page is Landing. Astute readers of EvilSponge will know that i am a huge fan of that band, and so to find another musical act that takes what Landing were doing as a starting point is something i find fascinating. In the interest of full disclosure, i did not find that out until i was almost done with the review. I can hear it though, now that it is mentioned. I do not think that knowledge of Landing, or lack thereof, will really affect your enjoyment of this record in any way. It is more of a curiosity i guess… Anyway, this review has seemed kind of wandering, and unfocused. It ebbs and flows through various points, like my general stressfulness lately, or the fact that this artist likes an artist i like as well. This is, believe it or not, intentional. You see, Further On is like this. The music here consists of 10 songs constructed out of layers of long, slow synthesizer notes. The record lasts just over 51 minutes, which works out to rather a good bit of time for each song to develop. And each song does develop quite nicely i think, unfolding gradually in a slow, vaguely rambling manner. (Hopefully like this review has done.) Similar artists include Arp, Casino vs. Japan, Landing (especially their later work), and of course, Vangelis. This is instrumental music without any real percussion per se. The rhythms are implied by the ebb and flow of the synth tones more than anything. I know that what Warning Light is doing will not impress a lot of people, but as someone who likes to have this type of music on in the background as i read, i must say that Further On is a pretty engrossing example of the synth drone genre. In particular i like the song Further On, Monoliths, which uses a combination of synth cello tones and synth organ tones to make a song that seems airy, for all the sonic density of the drones. Northern Requiem features another organ-like drone, but here it is paired with a light skittering IDM beat for a song that seems upbeat in an odd, non-vocal way. The Long Road Back leads right into the 14 minute (!) epic Sea Rations. Both are made out of very old sounding synth washes, the first referencing Queen's instrumentals in the soundtrack to Flash (Brendan's Note: He will, in fact, save every one of us), while the longer tune seems to come right out of an early 1970s Vangelis record. Both tunes carry that sense of wonder that 1970s synth music seemed to have, back when the instrument seemed new and open to any possibility, but before the sheer horror of disco had ruined the optimism… One final tune i want to mention is It felt Painful, which opens the record with three and a half minutes of tinkling, echoed synth notes. It moves along at a head-bopping pace, and almost sounds like a stripped down Casino vs. Japan tune. Good stuff. So, for an album that really isn't made out of much and that unfolds slowly, it sure is an enjoyable record. If you like ambient music, this is an excellent purchase. Now, supposedly Warning Light plays around town here in Atlanta. I have to figure out where, as i am dying to see how this translates to a concert stage.
The Evil Sponge
Despite the ominous implications of the name, and a flourish of darker textures and aural intonations sprouting up here and there, Warning Lights' latest offering, Further On, is a tranquil listening experience. Drew Haddon's follow-up to '07s Eternity Drones embraces the guerilla approach to loud, lo-fi and open-ended drone music that was once stifled by the academic imperialism of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Lamonte Young and the likes. What makes songs like "Infinite Stepstones," "Nothern's Requiem" and "Sea Rations" glow are their instinctual tendencies. As each number blends into the next, there are no complex number systems guiding their long, mesmerizing washes of synthesizer space. Nor is there anything that resembles composition at work here. Rather, it's reflexive music that builds on atmosphere and drives itself as it goes, drawing strength from being heady but not brainy, breezy but never hollow