Nico Muhly: Drones & Piano

Drone’t you like me, baby?
Words by Clyde Bradford
The thing with drones is that they don’t exactly move about very musically do they? So it’s a little discombobulating that Bruce Brubaker’s piano playing features so spritely across the length of this EP.

It isn’t bad. It’s just discombobulating. The clue is in the title really. The piano is distinct from the drones rather than complementary as you would normally expect from drone music where everryytthhhiiiinnngggg mmoooooovvveeeesss slllllooooowwwwllllly. Furthermore, it also seems as though Brubaker is being “helped” with his playing by an annoying child who keeps trying to haphazardly hammer on the piano keys.

It’s kinda cute at first, but then it just becomes tiresome. The deal with aberrations or shocks is that they’re strengthened by their infrequency, but they are all too frequent here. It detracts from the whole, which is frustrating because this EP is enjoyable, but it could be more so. That said, at least Nico is doing something a little different with a predominantly homogeneous genre and it will be interesting to see the territory that the two other releases in his “Drones” series explore.

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