Posted on February 24th, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Aaron Tremper

Following their 2013 debut, Mas Fiestas con el grupo Vision Fortune, experimental drone band, Vision Fortune, spent two months writing their follow-up LP in a rented Tuscany villa. Whereas Mas Fiestas featured a continuous mix of drone rock, their latest, Country Music, opts for a more electronic-based sound, featuring collage work that samples ambient recordings from their residency. Guitarist, Alex Peru, told The Guardian that the project started out as “a guitar rock album [in the vein of] the Arctic Monkeys or Kings of Leon,” but they abandoned their conventional approach in favor of guitar sounds “played back through a MIDI controller.”

The eclectic Country Music, named in honor of the serene workspace that produced it, reflects neither the privilege of a fully-funded Tuscany-based recording session or the acoustic qualities of its namesake. The album opens with the sparse, antithetical, “Blossom.” The cut, along with the aptly named “Dry Mouth” and the screechy, unintelligible “Tied And Bound,” features the troupe’s lifeless vocals in a moody, unimpressive attempt to emulate the essence of drone instrumentation. Tied with the repetitive bell clangs and synth trills that characterize the drone genre, the singers needlessly overindulge themselves. The warped bells return on the disturbing and trippy, “Stalker,” before subsiding for “Drunk Ghost,” which perfectly captures all the aimlessness and melodrama of, well, a drunken ghost.

Country Music begins to show promise on the tracks in which Vision Fortune backs off from its attempts at the gloomy macabre. The retro, timpani-laden, “Cleanliness,” the ominous interlude, “Tita,” and the organ-rich, “Sandrino,” all add diversity to an inevitably monotonous collection. The samples of swimming pool water on “Back Crawl II” provides a refreshing ambience after the lackluster rock of “New Jack City” and “Broken Teeth.” Despite new approaches to composing their records, Vision Fortune fails to depart from the tedious drone rock that made Mas Fiestas a disappointing listen.

With all its repetition and sustained sounds, crafting drone music is an undeniably tricky feat that runs the high risk of tuning the listener out. John Cale, who brought the aestheticism of drone to the Velvet Underground, would enable the genre to enter the awareness of rock performers. The advent of digital music and MIDI would only extend the possibilities, and pitfalls, of experimental music. With Country Music, Vision Fortune broadens their musical palette. Such experimentation, however, falls into the latter category and comes off as just that; studio probing that, for now, lacks both the vision and fortune of a successful experimental record.

Track List:

  1. Blossom
  2. Habitat
  3. Dry Mouth
  4. Cleanliness
  5. Tita
  6. Tied And Bound
  7. Sandrino
  8. Stalker
  9. Drunk Ghost
  10. Broken Teeth
  11. New Jack City
  12. Back Crawl II
Vision Fortune - Country Music Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

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