Advance review of GHAZM's debut album, Dethrone the DJs
Dethrone the DJs review by Dr. Sheryl Lynch - Professor of ethnomusicology at University of Nottingham.
This record begins with a gradual, quiet escalation of dissonant harmonies. Ulysses’ electronically effected acoustic guitar drone, Paul Patko’s triple Nintendo DS configuration (running korg software) and Tony Kastelic’s throat singing coalesce to build a lush foundation of overtones that sets the listener up for what’s to come.
What comes next?
To call any band unconventional is frankly conventional now but GHAZM breaks the status quo at every turn. The musicians in this group are sound artists. The sounds they produce indicate a reverent awareness of musique concrète and electronic minimalism whilst warming the void with thick sonic gifts that stem from a Global or post world music sensibility. The use of drones – sustained tones from the vocalist and/or instrumentation - conjure sound memories of Tibetan sacred chant, Mongolian throat singing, and the tambura: a sonorous, ubiquitous drone played by Hindustani and Carnatic musicians in South Asia. What I respect about GHAZM is that they are not trying to reach for the always tenuous position of authenticity as a 'world beat' or 'global rock' band, they stoically strive to create their own sound.
On tracks like ‘Big Star’, the talented vocalist (Tony Kastelic) threads in elements of Gregorian chant, adding a beautiful component of medieval sacred music to the work in a way that remarkably does not sound contrived. The utilisation of slow tempos and loop pedals create a hypnotic meditative sound bath throughout this body of work.
GHAZM is a drone band with a difference, a drone band that sounds out to the stars and calls upon the listener to root down, put headphones on, and rise up.
If I had to categorize GHAZM, I would say it has pioneered a sub-genre called Warm Drone, and you should get to know it now.
Dethrone the DJs will be available for sale September 22, 2017