By Dr. Abner Mality

Drone is an easy genre to describe but hard to understand. It is so simple in approach, it’s almost mind-numbing. Mind-numbing is how many would describe drone music, but there can be power and beauty in these simplified soundscapes.

Big/Brave is a trio hailing from Montreal that are stirring things up in the drone world. At times, their long, drawn out odysseys of heavy guitar sound and crystalline female vocals are entrancing and engulfing. At other times, you can’t wait for it to end. The listener’s mood has a lot to do with how the music is perceived.
Don’t expect anything technical or even really “musical” in the traditional sense here. “Ardor” has three long tracks that stretch out more than 10 minutes each.  “Sound” is based on the most basic of riffs and drum patterns, but careful listening will reveal a lot of “micro-tones” within the whole.  It’s not a million miles away from a Sunn 0))) drone fest but more abstract. The female vocals are the breathy, sharp tones you might hear from a Bjork or someone of that ilk. Never been a fan of “breathy” vocals, but they actually merge with this ponderous abstract heaviness quite well.

“Lull” is even more of an abstract drone, more laid back, while final track “Borer” will test the patience with over 14 minutes of Big/Brave’s expansive sound. I believe string cello and synth figure into this epic, which features sparse but pounding drum work.

If you “get” heavy guitar drone or are in the right mood, “Ardor” can be an effective listen, but don’t expect something overtly “rock” or “metal”.