This Ghent artist is clearly a believer in patience and restraint in music, as his style of loop-heavy psychedelic drone with krautrock sensibilities is all about the precision and gradual nature of world-building and dramatic impact. dustbug’s music can best be described as the sonic depiction of drifting alone in the unfathomable infinite, far beyond any galaxies we can conceive of.
Over the course of two extensive tracks, listeners are presented with a slowly unfolding canvas that, while never offering individual moments of urgency, gradually evolve into fully developed forms writhing with substantial tension and consequence. Unknowable, atonal synth notes rumble forth coldly and perpetually, tethered only by dulled percussive elements that buzz and hiss and offer no assurances beyond their momentary, shadowy presence. Hypnotic, but in a manner that pierces rather than lulls, the music methodically forges an edge that reveals intensity one would never anticipate from an auditory environment that rarely rises beyond a dull roar.
Encompassing the entirety of Side A is “why if all,” a 24-minute journey that begins with a low, rumbling drone, accented with skittering flourishes like coldly crackling electricity that are given counterpoint by synths that sound like the efforts of a distant, detached world trying to fight through the haze to offer glimpses of light and sensations of warmth. However, once those latter elements break through, subtle shifts in tone divulge a creeping corruption that results in their brightness becoming consumed by the inherent tenebrosity of the dominant soundscape. But the composition holds more in its shadowy hands than suggested at first glance. As it draws toward its midpoint, it forms into a layered, rippling terrain that sounds like an unholy union of spacey drone, shimmering psych guitars, arcane mysticism, and an Angelo Badalamenti score for a David Lynch film. These seemingly disparate yet cooperative elements come together to cascade through the back half with an unexpected complexity that never reveals itself until suddenly it’s surrounding you.
Side B is represented by “not within,” which is slightly more reserved but rich in atmosphere. A single, subtly modulating note is given twitches of life via hissing electronics and dispassionate strikes of dissonant keyboard notes. As the landscape develops, tribal-sounding drums steadily materialize like a distant march drawing ever closer, bringing a persistently swelling, suspenseful edge to the piece. But they fade off around the midpoint, clearing a path for the contemplative climactic sprawl. It conjures feelings of isolation but also a deep connection with an expansive elsewhere that is far more easily experienced than it is described. Imagine being transported to deep space, engulfed in blackness, and left to contemplate the opaque eons that surround you, defining your existence even as they themselves remain impenetrable and incalculable. If there was a sound that could fill that terrifying and mind-altering void, perhaps it might sound something like this.
Or, who knows? After reading this detailed account of the images and ideas that exist within the spacious realm of these two tracks, you could have an entirely different experience with the record. Such is the beauty of the experimental drone style dustbug excels at. One listener’s experience may vary drastically from another’s, but the purpose of this music is its existence as an open canvas for the audience to take ownership of. Recognizing this is recognizing the value of restraint. What we can imagine will forever be far greater than anything we can be shown, so drop the needle on uncare & float, close your eyes, and find your own way.