WÓMA – Three Drones


As I’m pleased to remind everyone on a regular basis, my so-called writing career in music began nearly three decades ago courtesy of my late friend Gianluigi Gasparetti, known artistically as Oöphoi. Back in those days we were literally hungry for drones, which we feverishly searched all over the globe (pre-internet era, remember) for a methodical divulgation on Deep Listenings, an ultra-limited edition Italian quarterly that gave rise to countless experiences. Several names that later became prominent in the field of drone-based soundscaping appeared for the first time on those pages. Well, a record like this would have been manna for us even then. All the more so since Arran Poole – concealing himself behind the Wóma moniker – studied composition with reliable people (Christopher Hobbs, anyone?) and is a disciple in spirit of the great and, alas, recently departed Robert Rutman, with whom he had the chance to perform. Rutman was the inventor of the bow chime, a sound sculpture whose superb ringing has been the subject of Poole’s investigation for many years now.

Having said that, there is no need to squander further energy in endorsing this fine album, as loaded with “menacingly benevolent” resonances as it is cleverly restrained. Poole’s handling of metal vapors fosters a wealth of layered overtones and immanent shades while fulfilling the desire to be enveloped in that sort of harmonic aura as frequently as possible. One thoroughly understands, if skilled enough, whether they’re dealing with a mere dabbler, or a sonic seeker deeply committed to the physics of the chosen instrument. It is evident that Wóma belongs to the latter class. At this level, artists endowed with legitimate responsiveness are capable of immersing equally aware listeners in an amniotic fluid rich in nuances, thus protecting them from any kind of ugliness related to the toxicity of overthinking.

File under “keep it going throughout day and night”, perhaps alternating it with David Jackman’s softer self, Harry Bertoia, Jonathan Coleclough and, of course, the very Bob Rutman.

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