The first thing you’re likely to notice about Tecumseh’s newest album, Violet, is the almost oppressively monotonous pattern that serves as the album cover, courtesy of Tauba Auerbach. My initial reaction to receiving this file was to assume it was some sort of digital editing software bug. It’s unsettling to look at for longer than a moment. When I realized this image also serves as the rear jacket and the back of the album insert, it became clear that this discomfort was intentional in a genre where artistic extravagance has become the norm. Tecumseh, a Portland-based drone project featuring members of Trees, manages to stand out in a genre that tends to either lead artists towards outlandish experimentation or very standard, repetitive sounds.
The droning doom of Tecumseh’s Violet is far removed from the majestic bliss of many bands who would label themselves as drone. Instead of celestial peace or fields with endless skies above, Tecumseh’s drone evokes endless nausea and madness. Much like my beloved a death cinematic, however, Tecumseh accomplishes this bleak sensation without making use of black overtones. Percussion, in fact, is entirely absent from this release, allowing the shifting of sounds to conjure images without distractions. While the heaviness and darkness are absolutely at their peak here, I get the impression that this music serves as a sort of release for the artists creating it.
I’m pleased to announce that I’m currently streaming the album’s second song, “Serenade for the Dead.” This song’s thirteen minutes are every bit the reflective brilliance that one would expect from a modern drone artist, yet there is an underlying rumble that really touches upon the depth and immensity of Tecumseh’s vision. This is absolutely meant for headphones or powerful sound systems, so turn it up and let yourself be consumed as the music swells up around you. Pre-orders for Violet have just gone live over at the Anti-Matter Records store. Don’t miss out on this beast of an album.