Dronescape 10: Anthropocene is the fourteenth in a series of albums, containing contemporary Electronic Symphonies by Oscar van Dillen.
The work on this album was composed, created, and recorded September-October 2022.
Music and cover art were created by Oscar van Dillen.
Geological timescale from Wikimedia Commons
Photo Oscar van Dillen by Elise van Rosmalen
- Section 1 4:35
- Section 2 3:06
- Section 3 2:35
- Section 4 3:48
- Section 5 4:19
- Section 6 3:02
- Section 7 2:51
- Section 8 4:40
- Section 9 3:07
- Section 10 5:03
- Section 11 2:38
- Section 12 3:17
- Section 13 3:23
- Section 14 6:06
Total duration 52:31
Download the CD Booklet HERE
The title Dronescape suggests the contraction of the terms Drone and Soundscape, inferring a music which might at first sight be mistaken for ambient only. But not at a hearing: there is mostly a friendly and pleasant surface character to most compositions, but careful listening will reveal less obvious details and sounds, sometimes surprising, at other times perhaps disturbing.
In music, a drone (or bourdon) is understood to be a continuous sound, interval, or chord, usually an accompaniment to a modal structure (melodic music based on a particular scale). Special instruments exist, dedicated to playing the drone only, such as the tanpura and the swar peti from India. Instruments are found all over the world that include drones within the melodic instruments themselves, such as the taraf strings on many Asian string instruments, but also the drone pipes next to the chanter in bagpipes, or the hurdy gurdy, and its predecessor the organistrum with their drone strings. Aboriginal didgeridoo music can be considered to consist purely of a rhythmized drone. Traditionally, drones with their sustained pitches are used as a harmonic support to the melodic music performed. In the Dronescapes by van Dillen the music itself has become rhythmized drone and soundscape at the same time, foregoing the traditional compositional hierarchies of theme and accompaniment, by using the following musical elements, in order of prominence: 1. sound 2. harmony 3. rhythm 4. melody. This non-prominence of melody stresses the absence of a traditional theme and accompaniment-oriented music, instead the work moves towards a more inclusive approach. This does not mean there are no developing linear structures, but rather that in a way the album can perhaps be regarded as being semipermeable to outside additions, whether coincidental and random (such as happening when listening outdoor or with windows opened), or improvised, or composed, or even as a large minus one recording, open to be supplemented by the listener, whether in imagined or performed future additional music.
The term Anthropocene is a newly proposed addition to the geological timescale; to be placed above, or after, the Holocene (see image). It assumes that the human presence in the geological record will show in the far future so clearly, that a separate epoch in the geological timescale is already justified. It is however in itself a prediction rather than an observation, even though human activity is already creating a new type of sedimentary debris, predicted to become part of future rock forming.
Next to the debris, the Climate Disaster caused by human activities is also expected to leave behind a significant and specific stratigraphic signature, not merely by the presence of substances but also for example by the absence of future fossils of species currently dying out. Anthropocene is a term to not be proud of perhaps, and the proposed alternative Homogenocene is not more optimistic, as it refers to an impoverished natural life, very similarly composed everywhere on the planet, after the disappearance of many specialized more local species, both plant and animal. The human impact on biodiversity is one of the main ideas behind the name Anthropocene.
In the music of this album, the composer imagined a sounding musical stratigraphy, with partly eroded fossil sounds of instrumental music long dead, among which are remnants of human made harmonies, encased in a matrix of eroded noise. In the course of the work, one travels as if through geological musical time, gradually meeting more and more less familiar memories, artifacts, forms and substances, preserved and left behind.
There is a basic Cantus Firmus melody that creates the harmony throughout the composition; it is layered four times, and twice transposed, each descending a whole step, while returning to the original pitch the fourth time.
The cantus firmus is here represented by a single melodic line, but the listener will recognize it was itself also harmonized, and intervals as well as triads have been used, or suggested.
So far, the following Dronescapes have been released:
- Genomes – Emanations
- Requiem for a Planet
- Oneirology (series of collaborations)
- Jñāna – Rigpa
- The four Pillars of Reason
- Matters of Life or Death
New Dronescapes are in the making, you can follow Oscar van Dillen and Donemus Records publications by their websites, but also for example on Twitter.
A word of warning: after careful listening, the world around you may not sound the same any longer.
OIJ Records – Donemus DCV